Pain… we hear a lot about the use of the word pain as it relates to childbirth. In every person’s mind they have a filing cabinet with definitions of what words mean. If you think about words, some have more than one definition. Lets look at the word pain in other contexts of life.
Other than childbirth, when do people experience pain?…….. When there is an injury or trauma. What does having an injury or trauma want you to do?……. Stop and assess to ensure you don’t hurt yourself further. Usually it leads you toward something or someone like a band-aid, doctor, or chiropractor or ? What do you want them to do for you?…….. Fix it and make it go away!!!!
Midwives understand birth!
Injury is when something is wrong. This causes pain to occur to tell you to stop so you don’t hurt yourself further. With birth everything is right and needs to move forward with movement.
Lets look at a different P word, POWER! Power is what your body will use to ask your uterus to contract or surge with power to open your cervix and assist with pushing your baby out. The word power means motion, movement with a purpose. That purpose is a sensation you want to have and feel. There is nothing to fix and you want the power to surge vs. make it go away. There is only one direction to birthing your baby…… forward with power.
Birth needs the P’s to work together. The power which gives the uterus it’s strength, the passageway and the passenger. Lets look at the passageway.
Your Midwife understands the power!
Your pelvis is the passageway the baby must come through. Your pelvis is like wings of a butterfly that open and make space for your baby. Ensuring that your pelvis is mobile and willing to stretch and move will help your baby through their journey. Sitting on an exercise ball and really circling your hips will help keep your pelvis mobile. Often with first babies, VBACs or women with prior births requiring vacuum extraction or long pushing stages or posterior babies, having 2-4 massages prior to birth can really make a difference. Having a skilled prenatal massage therapist work on the pelvis can help the mobility to increase drastically.
Midwives encourage movement during labor
Your passenger is your baby. The baby knows how to be born. So long as the passage and the passenger are lined up, birth generally goes very well. A baby when aligned well has their back against their mother’s front or they are facing the mothers back with their chin tucked. Midwives say they are “humble” babies. When a baby is in this position they enter the pelvis in a favorable way. Add a nice mobile flexible pelvis/passage and the power will work at its best.
Midwives support women to trust her ownership of her birth
Your passion is your desire for the birth you want. Intention is important in birth. When you know you trust your own body to work well and you say yes to the surge sensations, you have momentum toward your baby. Your passion can be helped or hindered.
If you have heard of oxytocin it is the hormone that makes the surges do their job. Those surges of power come from the cervix up and through the uterus. They are long muscles pulling the cervix back and open. Oxytocin works 3 times in your body. One is for birth. Two is to help the muscle fibers around the milk ducts to be compressed helping your milk to let down to your baby. Third is for lovemaking. So if you want to have a good lovemaking time you need an environment that is quiet, calm, trusting, private, low light and peaceful. If someone comes in and flips on lights and asks you questions, it can affect how this LOVE hormone is working.
Another chemical called adrenalin controls muscles in the uterus that go side to side. If these muscle contract it can cause the cervix to stay closed and a woman to feel anxious. This causes the LOVE hormone oxytocin to quiet down. What all this means is labor happens but progress can often be slow or stalled.
Midwives come to you, they make home a good place to birth
Oxytocin comes from the primal part of your brain. It is instinctual in nature. Adrenalin comes from your thinking brain that needs to make decisions at how to protect you. So if you feel supported, and safe, oxytocin flows well. If you feel threatened or watched or on display, then adrenalin may flow more. Which one do you want flowing in your labor? The one that will bring your baby, right? Oxytocin: the love, trust and letting go hormone.
Well, now you know that feeling love, acceptance and powerful will help bring your baby easier. Having all of your P’s working means a better birth possibility and outcome. Midwives understand this wisdom that is scientific in nature.
You are powerful with a purpose that is full of passion. Your passenger loves your flexible, mobile passage that will open and allow your baby to swim out and be welcomed into your welcoming arms.
Kaleem Joy LM, CPM
One Heart Midwifery Care