How Fear Affects Labour & Birth
|For most of our lives, we women have been saturated with negative stories and images about giving birth. Everyone tells us that birth is extremely painful. We are told by others (friends, acquaintances, the media, even at our ante natal classes) to expect labour and birth to be horrendously painful and given tips and advice on what to do to escape or mask the pain: |
"Have an epidural if you don't want to feel anything"
"A c-section makes it quick. You'll be sore afterwards but at least you won't have to push" etc etc.
On and on it goes. This advice may be well-intentioned but actually isn't helpful at all... the opposite in fact.
With our minds conditioned to believe that birth is horribly painful and traumatic we develop a deep-rooted fear of labour and birth. The main problem, ironically, is that these fears and anxieties we have in our minds actually cause our bodies and birthing muscles to automatically tense-up during labour and birth. When our muscles tighten and constrict, this causes the extreme pain that so many women suffer during labour and birth. So, because of how powerfully our minds and bodies respond to one another, it is ironic that our actual fear of pain and birth is directly responsible for causing the very things that we are often fearful of in the first place - long, difficult and disappointing births.
Dr Grantley Dick Read identified this physiological response to the mind from the body as the Fear-Tension-Pain Syndrome in his book, Childbirth Without Fear.
Normally, in this situation, we gratefully accept every form of pain relief on offer or else have opted for a caesarean birth to begin with just to escape the pain and suffering that we expect.
No wonder then that until HypnoBirthing® was founded, the idea of giving birth calmly, comfortably and gently seemed almost impossible for women and their babies.
Find out how HypnoBirthing can powerfully address this problem: