Is labour painful?
The question that so many women have around labour and birth. Is labour painful? We’re surrounded with many stories that allude to this. Most women have been surrounded by this belief from a very young age. TV, films, books, peoples birth stories contribute to this belief. Its such an awful notion to believe that to have a family women have to endure hours of pain whilst in labour. We need to reframe this belief. We can’t hang on to negative thoughts or comments they aren’t helpful whatsoever. Don’t underestimate that ‘where the mind leads, the body follows’. Positive thinking is what you need not a belief that it has to be the painful way or no way!
I’m here to share with you that it doesn’t have to be this way.
But we all have different pain thresholds I hear you say
I would tell you that i’m a wimp! Had you asked me many years ago before i became a Mum – is labour painful? I’d have said of course it is! Having not even experienced it I’d have confidently told you of course it would be. A paper cut hurts me, I’m often asked by beauticians does that hurt because my legs have gone bright red during waxing. Yes it does hurt even though I’ve been having it done for 18 years! But ask me is labour painful? I’ll tell you no. I had a great labour. I often say I’ve had harder days at work! The reason I strongly believe it was this way? Because i was relaxed. I was looking forward to birth and meeting my baby. I was never alarmed when labour started. You can read more about my birth story here.
By being relaxed it really helps you manage any sensations that you are experiencing. If you’re able to manage these sensations early on then you’re conserving your energy stores.
Don’t underestimate your body and don’t look to birth to be painful. Take any association of pain away from your believe of what labour is. Yes labour is a very different sensation to any you may have experience before. Although some women liken it to premenstrual cramp. Its a hard sensation to describe I find personally but its certainly not one I described as painful.
Managing labour effectively
As a hypnobirthing teacher and having experienced childbirth there are many ways that we can manage labour. Firstly understanding our bodies. Many women aren’t aware of how amazing their bodies are. They are designed to give birth. Of course, there are circumstances where women can’t give birth naturally due to medical reasons. For those women, who are in the majority, that can give birth naturally we need to understand our bodies.
Breath is King
To appreciate that breath is KING is a good start. Don’t ever underestimate how powerful breathing techniques are. Not only during labour but in all walks of life. When we’re stressed, taking deep breaths help to calm us down. I teach a breath work called the up breath which is used in the first stage of labour. This breath is used as a relaxing breath and it produces a hormone that the body needs on the out breath, Oxytocin.
Understanding the hormones we need to keep our bodies relaxed. By doing this the uterus which is the muscle that births our baby is relaxed. If this muscle is tense it won’t work effectively and like any other muscle will start to produce lactic acid. This is not effective during labour. We keep our uterus relaxed by our bodies producing oxytocin. Oxytocin is also know as the love hormone. The same hormone your body produces when we’re kissed, hugged, have sex.
If your body is producing oxytocin you’re going to be in a happy state not tense or anxious. It’s when the stress hormone adrenaline kicks in that labour will begin to stall. The body will be tense, stressed and anxious. This is not conducive for labour. This is when women can be branded with ‘failure to progress’. When actually if they were in the right environment they could begin to relax.
Oxytocin breeds. So if you’re producing it those around you will start to as well and vice-versa. So the more calm and relaxed anybody involved in the birth can be the better.
Oxytocin works in harmony with fellow hormones endorphins and melatonin. Melatonin is encouraged in dark and quiet settings and inhibited by interruption and observation. Endorphins are natures natural pain relief. Promoted by oxytocin, laughter, love and stimulated by light touch and massage.
It’s amazing how the body can naturally produce all of these things to naturally promote a manageable labour – if we work with it.
How can hypnobirthing help?
Hypnobirthing can help you achieve a better birth. One that you feel in control of by learning how the body works. Understanding how if we’re stressed where it can lead to and how it uses energy levels we should be conserving. Using techniques that help stimulate endorphins through gentle stroking and massage. Listening to relaxations and believing in the power of the mind.
We don’t want to hold on to negative thoughts and with hypnobirthing we encourage you to let go of those. Release any of the fear and tension you may hold on to in the subconscious mind.
Hypnobirthing isn’t pain relief but it teaches you to understand how you can be in control of your birth and remain calm. Being calm is key because as soon as you become stressed the adrenaline will kick in. This is then when we start to see intervention, women’s contractions slowing down.
Learning the tools of hypnobirthing will mean you’re not left asking is labour painful? You’ll feel confident that you will be able to have a birth that you feel in control of and can manage. This isn’t just for a natural birth but any route your birth takes.
Interested in booking a hypnobirthing course? What to know more?
I offer hypnobirthing classes across Teddington, Twickenham, Richmond, Kingston and surrounding areas in London. So to find out more about hypnobirthing or to book your hypnobirthing classes get in touch – i’d love to hear from you.