We already know how important communication is: it allows us to create links, to discover others’ personalities deeper, and, above all, to evolve. It is even more important in a parent-child relationship, and it starts very, very early. And yes, you have to start doing it as soon as you’re pregnant! In fact, there is a method that is much appreciated by future parents: haptonomy! Whether it’s a communication with the baby, including the father during pregnancy, or preparing for childbirth - you’ll soon understand all the benefits!
Haptonomy: but what is it?
You know when you put your hand on your stomach and your baby gently kicks you in the ribs? Well, haptonomy is a bit like that! (knowing this will help you to support more the little boxer who wants to fight). In reality, it is a method that combines emotional touch, that is to say, and we encourage parents to create an exchange with the baby that is still in the womb.
It is a kind of interaction that we don’t often understand anyway, through the wall of your belly (in utero, in medical language). Your baby will feel the caresses and contacts of your hand on your belly and will respond positively (unless he/she is already quite temperamental) by curling up against your hand or putting his/her hand on it, for example.
How does a haptonomy session go?
Do you now you understand why parents are fans of it? It will be the first exchange with their baby where the future parents will learn their baby’s reactions, but it will also create a bond and certain affection between them. But if you are in a hurry, you will still have to be patient since the sessions can only start from the 4th or 5th month of pregnancy, and at the beginning, you will only have one session per month.
These classes are usually held with the midwife as she teaches you the gestures you need to practice to communicate with your baby and how to repeat them in order to create a bond. For example, just exerting light pressure on the belly will invite the baby to respond by moving closer to the place where you are exerting the pressure.
The midwife will also teach you to accompany the gestures with words, and yes, the baby can hear you already! In fact, you’ve already heard that reading during pregnancy is also a very good way to communicate with your baby and get him/her used to our voice. But haptonomy isn’t just that!
Including the father in the pregnancy through in utero communication
We are not born parents, we become parents day after day, we learn from our mistakes, and we try to evolve to be the best possible parent for our child. If the mother has nine months to complete her pregnancy and understand the role she is going to play, it is more complicated for the father.
In reality, every father has a special moment when he understands how important he actually is, and it is not always the first moment when he holds his baby in his arms. Haptonomy can create that first moment of tenderness and exchange, especially when the baby starts to move at the sound of the father’s voice and moves closer to his hand.
The father is fully included in the mother’s special relationship with her baby. If the baby is not yet born, it will be the birth of the relationship between a father and a child, a bond is woven as the first gestures of love are born. The link via voice is very important, especially as the low sounds are better perceived by the baby who is still warm in the womb (finally an advantage of dads over moms during pregnancy).
A birth preparation method appreciated by future parents
In addition to communication and bonding, haptonomy is also a method of preparing for childbirth that will involve both expectant parents. For example, if touch is important to create a bond with the baby, it can also be mobilized to relieve the mother-to-be during childbirth.
The practitioner or the midwife will teach you the right gestures that will accompany you during the birth, but especially those that will relieve the contractions. For example, during the contractions, the father-to-be can place himself behind his partner to apply gestures to her belly to relieve the pain.
And these gestures should not be underestimated as they bring real relief when labor is at its beginning! This technique can also facilitate childbirth, especially when the baby is breeching, and by exerting pressure it will suggest the baby to position itself in a different way.
Haptonomy is an important method, even essential for future parents. Each gesture has a positive impact on the pregnancy, the baby, and the role of parents.
Did you practice haptonomy during your pregnancy? What did you think about it?