I’m the Naked Doula and your JAW is the key to an easier birth – try this trick | The Sun

A BIRTHING expert has shared a jaw exercise she claims makes childbirth easier.

The jaw is connected to the pelvic floor area, she explained, and relaxing it is the key to easier pushing. 

As a doula and birthing educator with over 123k followers on Instagram, Emma Armstrong, aka The Naked Doula, has a number of tricks up her sleeve for mums-to-be.

She wrote on Instagram that the “mantra of birth” is “Floppy Face Floppy F*nny (FFFF)”.

“But what if you’ve got a stiff jaw or find yourself grinding your teeth,” she wrote.

“Your jaw is SO IMPORTANT because it’s connected to your pelvic floor.

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"If you’re clenching your mouth and tending you’ll find your pelvic floor tenses restricting room for your uterus to contract and making it hard on yourself! 

“It also will cause your vag and perineum to be pretty tense if trying to birth your babe with those gritted teeth. So FFFF for the win!!!”

Although childbirth can be a distressing experience, it’s important to stay relaxed, the NHS says.

The state of relaxation of the mouth and jaw is directly correlated to the ability of the cervix, vagina and the anus to open to full capacity, says hypnobirthing practitioner Kate Vivian, aka Bright Mums.

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“A relaxed and open mouth favours a more open vagina and cervix”, the website says.

Midwives and doulas may encourage women to sigh and relax their face and jaw as a means to release and tension in the pelvis. 

Natural childbirth expert Ina May Gaskin even coined the term “sphincter law” to explain the theory.

Sphincters are involuntary muscles including the vagina, cervix, urethra and amus.

These muscles are closed until they are needed to relax, such as to urinate, for example.

Sphincters do not release under tension – it’s why you cannot pee if you feel someone is watching or listening to you.

In order to encourage these sphincter muscles involved in childbirth to open – the cervix and vagina – relaxation is imperative.

No amount of clenching in the jaw, buttocks, stomach or otherwise is going to help, experts say.

On top of this, the jaw is connected to the pelvic floor through a myofascial line – of which there are 12 in the body.

These lines of connective tissue help the body to move as one unit with coordination. 

The Deep Front Line (DFL) runs from the foot, up the calf, thigh, front of hip, pelvic floor, spine, core and into the jaw and base of the skull.

Any issues with the DFL can result in pelvic floor insufficiency or a disorder of the jaw that can cause pain, dislocation or arthritis.

Because the two areas of the body are connected via this connective piece of tissue, some birthing experts argue that if one part is tensed, the other part will be, too.

Emma shared a technique for relaxing the jaw in the lead-up to the big day.

She said it can help manage contractions and reduce tearing during childbirth.

The exercise is as follows: 

  • Place two fingertips on the masseter muscles, which are about an inch either side of the nostrils, below the cheekbones. They are involved in helping the jaw move up and down.
  • Open and close your jaw but don’t lock it.
  • Repeat up to ten times, holding for two seconds for each opening.

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Other jaw exercises to improve the birthing experience are shared by Bright Mums:

  • Rest your tongue  lightly behind your front upper teeth. Clenching the jaw should be impossible while your tongue is here. Get in the habit of resting your tongue here throughout the day, so that by the time it comes to your birth it is almost second-nature.
  • Have your partner stroke your jaw during childbirth, which may prompt you to relax it.

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