During labor and birth, your body will experience many thousands of sensations flooding your central nervous system, sensations you have never experienced before, and your brain does not know how to interpret. When we experience something new which we did not expect and do not know how to cope with, our brains will often respond the only way they know how - by interpreting the new sensations as pain. In most cases, there is no actual pain, simply stretching sensations, some pressure, and the feeling that a massive force is pouring through us. They are very powerful sensations - all the creative power of the universe is flowing through you at the time of birth. That is why some people can feel overpowered and unable to cope unless they have prepared themselves and know what to expect. Knowing what to expect so that you do not have fear is the best way to avoid pain.
The second way to avoid pain is to use the Accu-Balancing Technique to remove negative, limiting beliefs about birth which can create the illusion of pain, and help you have a safer, more comfortable birth.
Many people expect contractions to be painful. What are contractions, anyway?
Clench your fist and tighten the muscle of your arm. Continue to hold the muscle in a tensed position. Notice how it feels. It feels hard, and the longer you hold it the more you can feel the muscle become fatigued. It may even shake a little. But there is no pain, unless you continue to hold it past the point that the muscle can function. There are resting periods in between the contractions so that your muscles do not get fatigued and start to hurt.
Uterine contractions are no different than this. There is no reason for them to be painful. Each time the uterine muscle contracts, it becomes shorter, exerting downward pressure on the baby. Picture in your mind what it is like to pull a turtleneck sweater over your head. You push through the opening with your head while pulling down on your sweater with your hands. It is a dual action. Contractions push the baby down through the cervix while pulling the cervix up to widen the opening. Some believe that as the uterus pushes down, the baby exerts counterpressure with his/her feet which also helps to push the baby out. The contractions of the uterus exert a huge but very gentle pressure.
Tighten the muscle of that arm again. Keep it tightened. Hold it there......
If you hold it long enough, the muscle will start to hurt. It produces pain. What is causing the pain?
The muscle is exhausted. Keeping it tightened not only tires out the muscle, but it does not allow the muscle to empty itself of waste products and replenish the supply of nutrients it needs in order to continue. This is the reason some women feel pain during contractions. Either they have not had proper nutrition during pregnancy so their uterine muscle is not well nourished, they have not been getting the proper rest, not drinking enough water so that waste products can be carried away, their labor is long and they have not been keeping their energy level up by drinking nourishing liquids and light, easily digestible foods during labor, or they have received a Pitocin drip designed to speed up their contractions, and their uterus does not have a chance to rest. Not only is this painful, but dangerous as well. A uterus that cannot push a baby out is likely to need a cesarean section, or at the very least, forceps or vacuum extractions. It is no wonder that so many cesareans are performed in hospitals today - women are often not being allowed to eat and drink during labor as they should, and there are a questionable number of induced labors being done which result in exhausted uteri.
Another reason pregnant women feel pain is because of the fight or flight response. Do you know why the faces of people who are afraid turn white? Because the body, in its wisdom, knows that when there is danger, you need extra blood to go to the muscles so that you can fight or run from danger. All non-essential bodily organs will be drained of their extra blood supply. During times of danger, the uterus is also considered a non-essential organ, and blood drains out of it as well and goes to the muscles of the arms and legs. That's why when you are fearful during birth, your cervix can close up, you contractions slow down or are not effective, and your labor can stall. The best thing we can do to reduce and eliminate pain is to change our ideas about birth, and realize that it doesn't have to be inherently painful. In fact, it can be quite pleasureful.
In a few rare cases, there can be pain that is NOT associated with the contractions themselves, but which indicates a problem that needs resolution. See Katherine's Birth Story - By Emm
In summary, to avoid pain you should:
1. Learn about what labor will be like by visiting these pages:
3. Have EXCELLENT nutrition during pregnancy
4. Drink a MINIMUM of 1/2 gallon water a day. A better way to determine how much to drink is to weigh yourself, and divide your weight by 2. That is how much water you should drink each day to cleanse the amount of body weight you have.
5. Get plenty of rest. At least 8 hours at night, and a nap in the afternoon.
6. Avoid unnecessary stress.
7. Do not allow your labor to be induced by Pitocin. Induction is dangerous and rarely necessary. The baby knows the best time for him/her to be born. Trust your baby and your body to know what to do. If for some reason you feel that the baby should come right away, start making suggestions to the baby that he/she should come now.
8. Listen to your body and do what it tells you to do during labor. Get in the positions that feel right, make the sounds that feel right, do what makes you feel relaxed and right.
9. Give birth in the place and with the people you feel most comfortable with, or alone if that is what you are most comfortable with.
10. Change your ideas about birth. Talk to women who have had positive birth experiences. When someone starts to tell you their own horror story about birth, politely tell them that just because birth was traumatic for someone else doesn't mean it will be for you, and that you don't want to hear negative stories during your pregnancy.
Do you believe that childbirth is woman's "curse" according to the Bible? Then you need to read What The Bible Says About Childbirth
Read about my own Painless Childbirth Story
Back to The Online Childbirth Class
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Copyright 2015 Judie C. McMath and The Center for Unhindered Living