Our minds can be an extremely useful tool during any experience including childbirth.
It is not only import to release physical tension during labour especially the 2nd stage (while pushing) but also to release built up tension and past impressions of the mind. When the mind is tense, stressed and feeling overwhelmed, it has the ability to stall labour and actually reverse any progress made.
When your mind and body in conjunction are at ease and the parasympathetic nervous system is engaged, a hormone called oxytocin is produced which helps stimulate labour.
Another hormone that is produced is adrenaline – adrenaline can go one of two ways. Help speed up the process or it can slow it down to a halt, there have been times that when a woman is in fear and extremely uncomfortable, her cervix has retracted back to be dilated half the size it previously was. Instead of the female being in a fight or flight state of mind where her body will respond, we want to encourage the female to be as calm and feel as supported as possible.
It is known that animals often retreat to a dark corner to birth and when interrupted, labour is stalled and the animals become protective and fearful. It is the same for humans, the preferred lighting is dim, noise to be calm and soft and there to be only people around that the woman feels safe and comforted by.
Think of it as an example of when you need to go to the bathroom to do a number 2 – for some people it’s not an option to go anywhere but in the privacy of their own bathroom. Even society has conditioned us to privacy because of private stalls in bathrooms and locks on doors. Often the body won’t respond to a command ‘Go to the toilet now’ if the mind is not comforted by the surroundings. The same goes for a woman when commanded ‘Push!’
Endorphins are also released during childbirth, this can be stimulated by being touched in a favored way and seeing the loving look of your companies faces believing in you. Endorphins act as a pain blocker, when feeling the natural high of the hormone – pain can be reduced. This is that the mind is occupied by euphoric feelings rather than focusing on the physical sensation and fear of ‘what might happen’
If you are pregnant, start to consider the environment which best settles you. Maybe scent, company, music. Whatever it is, ensure that mind is at ease throughout the first stage of labour and communicate to people how you can best get comfortable and this might change through the process.
Have people with you that support your birth plan and that you’re comforted by.
The body always responds to the mind ever so effectively, so calm breathing, willingness to be open both mentally and physically will aid in a smoother and healthier birth of your baby with as little interventions as possible.
If you have a birth story or any expample where you have used the power of your mind to help control your body please comment below!