Rethinking P.A.I.N in labor
Updated: Jan 30, 2019
As a certified Hypno-Doula, I have a lot of opinions around the word “pain”,
Hypnobabies, as a practice avoids this word at all costs. The general idea is that when
words have a negative connotation, our subconscious and makes labor more
challenging. For that reason, Hypnobababies encourages that people replace words
with negative connotations, for example “Labor” becomes “birthing time”, “contractions”
become pressure waves” and so on.
According to Google dictionary the definition of pain is “1. physical suffering or
discomfort caused by illness or injury.” According to the DEFINITION of pain, a low risk
healthy individual does not experience the definition of pain in pregnancy. A pregnancy
experience, is not caused by illness OR injury. My goal in writing this post is to help you
rethink PAIN. Rather than anticipating the traditional word, “pain” I would like to
encourage you to focus on: "P.A.I.N"
What is the 'purpose' of what I am experiencing? During your birthing time (labor) your body is doing incredible work; it is opening, stretching and massive muscles are moving a baby down and out of your body! Intensity is normal, pressure is normal, and discomfort is normal. However, when you label all of these NORMAL sensations as 'painful' you are also labeling them as "abnormal", because when something is 'painful' typically something is wrong. When we experience 'pain' our bodies want to change the situation as quickly as possible to protect itself, for example--touching a hot stove. When you touch a hot stove your body screams "OUCH" in response your brain says "MOVE AWAY FROM THE PAIN". The message of "pain" produces large amounts of adrenaline in our bodies. It is the “fight or flight” chemical reaction sourced from the amygdala. When your body is producing adrenaline, you are no longer producing oxytocin. Knowing that your body is doing everything that it is supposed to be doing can help prevent you from entering into "fight or flight mode" in your birthing space. Trust that everything is happening for a reason. Breathe, find your 'zen' and allow your body to remain in a "rest and digest" state of mind, while in "rest and digest" your body is able to produce ample amounts of oxytocin. Attempt to AVOID panic in your birthing space. It is not your job to worry in your birthing space, it is important to hire a provider (your doctor or midwife) that you can trust totally and fully, when you hire a provider that is on your side, you can comfortably and safely leave all aspects of medical elements in their hands. So much of our birthing time is about mentally coping and managing, understanding the 'purpose' of what you are feeling and experiencing is key.
Anticipation is normal, it is normal to feel unsure about what you will physically experience during childbirth. Preparation is so important, and knowing how you best help yourself feel relaxed is a great thing to focus on! Our bodies give us up to 42 weeks to grow a baby, use your time to plan! Observe yourself after a long day, how do you decompress? When you are feeling overwhelmed how do you help yourself find your center? Use these tools in your birthing space! Hire a doula that will help be your tour guide through your journey. Take a childbirth education class. If you are interested in Hypnobabies—take a Hypnobabies class! Learn how you want to manage through your pressure waves (contractions) take the time to learn what you are drawn to, and learn your options. What does your birth center or hospital offer for those that want an unmediated childbirth? Does a warm bath or shower sound like something that would help you? Would acupressure and aromatherapy sooth your soul? Anticipate your needs, and take the necessary steps to prepare.
Understand that your birthing time can be intense. Remember that what your body will be doing is POWERFUL. In the same breath, it is essential to know that pressure waves (contractions) come, they peak, and they leave. After each pressure wave, your body will give you a moment to rest. Take your rest! Your birthing time (labor) is 1/3’s work, 2/3’s rest comes intermittently, but your body is designed to rest in between pressure waves (contractions).
Assuming you are a low risk pregnant person and your baby is healthy and well, there is nothing wrong! It is normal to feel what you are feeling. The job of your provider, Doctor or Midwife is to make sure to facilitate your birth. Hiring a doula can really help with this.
Knowing and understanding P.A.I.N can really help you so much during your birthing time! You are stronger than you know! Create your birthing team with your goals in mind. If a non-medicated childbirth, or a waterbirth, or even if an epidural is what you want, plan for what you want. Bring all of your tools with you to make your birth plans a reality, and not just a compilation of hopes on a piece of paper.
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