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Polyvagal Principles For Birth and Postpartum

By Chantal Traub, CD

Optimizing the birth process to minimize the trauma experience and foster connection and co-regulation.

Birth coaching through a Polyvagal lens has deepened and informed my practice, providing insights that enable me to actively cue signals of felt safety for my clients and effectively offer safe support enhancing my clients pregnancy and birthing experience. 

Polyvagal Theory informs us that during the birthing process all participants need to feel safe, supported and connected to optimize birth and minimize trauma. Polyvagal Theory, created by Dr. Stephen Porges, offers a scientific framework for examining feelings of safety by integrating insights from neuroscience. 

Originating from his inquiries into the dual role of the Vagus nerve—a singular nerve—as both an indicator of resilience and a potential risk factor for newborns, Polyvagal Theory delves into the intricate dynamics of our physiological responses. Dr. Porges explains that from the moment of our birth, we are inherently wired for connection. Rooted in a primal urge for survival, there exists within us a profound yearning to connect. Polyvagal Theory proposes that the survival-related suck-swallow-breathe-vocalize circuit matures to form the social engagement system that supports homeostasis and co-regulation.

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