In our society, the idea of labor being excruciating is ingrained in our minds.
Relaxation in labor? What? Is that even possible to relax during labor?
We’ve seen TV shows and movies that create so much drama around the process of giving birth. It’s no wonder so many women have such anxiety and fear of labor and birth. There are ways to find comfort during labor and one of those is practicing relaxation techniques during labor. also, having lots of education about what is a normal, natural physiological process can replace that fear with knowledge. You will be amazed at what your body is capable of if you prepare for it.
Just like preparing for an important sporting event, or a big test, it takes practice and preparation, and learning how to relax physically, mentally, and emotionally. Practicing relaxation daily is essential to create an easier labor.
3 Reasons To Practice Relaxation During Pregnancy
- STRESS HORMONES – When a mother is stressed she produces stress hormones also known as catecholamines. Your baby is directly affected and feels stress, through your blood stream, by these stress hormones. If you want to give your baby the message that labor is a good and safe experience, breathe deeply and start practicing relaxation daily in the last 3 months of your pregnancy.
- FEAR – TENSION – PAIN – According to Dr. Grantly Dick-Read and his “Fear Tension Pain” theory, a woman’s fear of labor causes her to feel stressed. The stress hormones then cause her to tense up in response, and increase her experience of pain in labor. Most women’s pain in labor is largely due to the prevailing fear of labor in our culture. As mother’s perception of pain in labor increases, and the mother’s fear of what is happening increases, her tension increases, and her production of stress hormones increases. Then her pain in labor increases, which then cycles back to increase her fear. This succession of negative reactions creates an unending cycle of fear, tension, and pain in labor. Understanding what is normal, helps remove some of the fear and then the pain. Practicing relaxation helps you learn emotional and mental relaxation too.
- SLOW DOWN LABOR – Tensing up in labor can inhibit your body’s normal physiological processes. This can slow down labor causing dysfunction, and possibly cause changes in your baby’s heart rate or fetal distress.Fetal distress is often a reason for having an unplanned Cesarean. Practicing relaxation daily during your pregnancy, gives you the tools to create the relaxation response in your body. You can turn on that relaxation response at your whim, but only if you practice.
The Reality: “Easy” Labor Isn’t So Rare
“Ronald Melzack researched experiences of pain, and studied the pain of labor. Through his research he found that overall childbirth can be called severely painful, but the intensity of the pain is variable.
- About 25% of first time mothers and only 11% of experienced mothers rated labor as horrible or excruciating.
- In fact 9% of first time mothers and 24% of experienced mothers said they had low levels of pain.
- With 17% of women having low levels of pain, the “easy” labor can not possibly be as rare as we think it is.” from www.spinningbabies.com
by Liza Janda,
AAHCC, E-RYT, RPYT