Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The fear of Birth

Following on from Sara's most recent post and after some discussions with that certain friend of mine who is forever keeping my memory fresh, I feel encouraged to discuss some thoughts around preparation for labour.

In the clinic, it is routine practice that pre labour treatment begins anywhere from 36 weeks. Pre labour acupuncture does several things. It assists in relaxing muscles and tendons, aids in ripening and softening of the cervix, it supports the mother and ensures there is adequate qi and blood moving through the body and most importantly it strongly works of the mind to prepare for labour and the stresses, anxieties and worries that might be.

We often see women who's first birthing experience is awful. Its something they are very afraid to revisit. Whilst this can be disheartening to the mother, we also see it as an opportunity to drive us in making the pending birth a totally different experience. We know we can do this as Chinese Medicine prepares the entire body - be it the physical and the emotional. Its supports the Mind & Body connection, which in turn has a large affect on all body systems.

Fear may be the most talked about emotion an expectant mother is facing. Truth is, fear will have an impact on the duration and outcome of labour as it produces adrenaline and adrenaline inhibits oxytocin - the hormone that makes the uterus contract. So if there is insufficient oxytocin being released, its is very possible that a woman's birth will not progress sufficiently. It's interesting to read of many women who have recgonised how their labour has taken a swift turn following a change in hospital staff or in the move from home to hospital. This is most likely as a result of fear.

Now it is all good and well to say, don't worry, don't fear, you will be fine - but how do you do that really?

It is so very important to be informed, armed with the right information for what you, the birthing mother wants. However, all the knowledge in the world can often go out the window without support. To me, support is the single most important factor. Feeling safe and being in a supported environment removes much of the fear associated.

A very interesting thing happens when we are birthing if we allow it. We literally 'open up.' You might think - yup Nat, thats exactly what is happening! However, this isn't just a reflection on the cervix, but of the entire Body and Mind. So it makes so much sense that how we are perceived by the people around us as we birth is vitally important. At this time we are more open to every attitude that comes our way and by being more open, we are also more vulnerable. How can the birthing woman stay empowered if no one around her believes she can do it?

By holding a strong belief in my patients, believing in my treatments and trusting that our bodies do know what they are doing, I am providing one of several necessary support teams for the mother. It is this that allows a woman to find strength and courage herself because she feels safe, allowing her to move through associated fears that may be.

Know what you would 'prefer,' know your options and above all know that YOU are in charge of your birth. You are in charge of your body. Eliminate fear by being empowered, informed but most of all supported. Whatever the outcome - you will be most grateful for that experience.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic post Nat - I am sure in time I will be revisiting this one!!! Keep up the wonderful and inspiring work.


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