Over the next few weeks I plan to do a weekly Thursday blog with my 3 top tips for certain aspects of pregnancy, labour, birth and early parenthood. This happens to coincide with me celebrating being qualified as a midwife for 3 decades on 7th March 2018!

So, this week is about the power of words; they can bring immediate negative and destructive thoughts and feelings, or they can facilitate a move to a position of calm and inner strength. Our brains react immediately to certain words, creating physical and emotional responses. Of course, it is not just the words that count, but also importantly the tone and body language which impacts how words are received and perceived. However, it is the words that we speak to ourselves, in our mind, that I wish you to consider here.

So! I advocate Word swap by choice, especially in labour and birth, to bring about a different response in our bodies and minds.


(i) Instead of “can’t!” say “can!”, reinforced by a positive affirmation, such as “I am strong and calm”

(ii) Rather than “No!” say “Yessssss” long and slow as you exhale . That’s “yes” to welcoming the start of your labour, “yes” to each contraction as it comes, bringing you another step closer to the birth of your baby. “Yes, I can do this” and “Yes, my body can do this”. Try saying “yes” and notice how differently you feel.

(iii) Instead of that was a really “painful” contraction swap to saying “powerful” or “strong”. The more powerful and regular your contractions are, the closer you are getting to your baby’s birth.

Birthing partners too – remember the power of your words; just a few positive and encouraging words can make all the difference.

I have been trying this tool myself. I have had some recent back problems and discovered that swimming helps alleviate my back pain considerably. The problem is that I detest swimming! I am a complete wimp in that I don’t like the cold water of our local pool. However, as I prepare to get in the water I say to myself “refreshing” and “invigorating” rather than “freezing!” and “horrible!” and my mindset is shifted to a better place for the experience.

Give it a try, you have nothing to lose and much to gain.