The three stages of labor are general, and can vary considerably from woman to woman. First Stage is divided into three parts: Early Labor, Active Labor, and Transition. Then there may or may not be a Resting Phase. Second Stage is the Delivery stage, when the baby is actually born. Third Stage involves the delivery of the placenta. There are all kinds of average lengths that have been figured for each stage, and each kind of contraction. But the bottom line is, each woman is unique and individual, and you cannot use averages to predict what may or may not happen. So it is best to just be open to whatever happens, and trust that your body had wisdom about how to give birth.
Women have believed for centuries that painful, torturous childbirth was their "curse" in life. As a result of these negative beliefs, most women experience birth in this way. However, birth was not designed to be painful and torturous, but to be intensely emotional, fulfilling, empowering, transforming, intimate, and relatively simple.
Scripture says that "Death and life are in the power of the tongue; and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." Also, "As a man thinks in his heart, so he is." And finally, "...if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
Taken together, these verses tell me that my thoughts, words, and beliefs have the power of life and death; I can change the reality of my circumstances by changing my thoughts, words, and beliefs. It says "Nothing shall be impossible to you." That means it is possible for me to have a simple, painless, quick, peaceful, safe birth, if that is what I desire and what I think, speak, and believe.
That doesn't mean I say to myself one time "I'm going to have a good birth" and then never think it or say it again. If one believes something, then their language, their behavior, and everything about them reflects their belief. If you say you are going to have a good birth, but you walk around talking about what the "labor pains" will be like, you have just programmed yourself to have pain.
Start imagining what the perfect birth would be like for you. Imagine the location, the surroundings, the time of day or night, how long you would like the labor to be, who you would like to have there, whether you would like to give birth alone, the ease and painlessness of the birth, or any other details that are important to you. Visualize that birth every day. Speak about it to others. Think it, speak it, believe it. Speak to your baby. Tell him/her when to get into position, what position to get into, what day you would like him/her to come. Then listen to what your baby tells you. Listen through your dreams, your intuition, or that little voice that speaks to you. The baby will give you important information about his/her condition.
What will birth feel like? Most of the time, when the mother is relaxed, feeling good about her expected birth experience, and listening to and responding to what her body tells her to do, there is little if any pain, possibly some pressure or tightening around the belly, but usually the cervix easily dilates, the baby slips through the cervix and down the birth canal with little if any pushing effort on the part of the mother, and the baby is born quietly, peacefully, without any coaching, screaming, panting, pushing, or manipulating. It is so easy, mother can deliver her own baby by herself in most cases.
Speaking from my own experience, I was never in any pain, but I was completely consumed by the experience. That is what most women don't expect - how the sensations your body makes can be all-consuming. You can't focus on anything else if you are going to make it through. And when you are forced to concentrate on something else...such as hospital procedures, people coming in and out of your room, or anything else you don't want....this reduces your ability to stay in control of the experience. This is one reason why so many women who give birth in hospitals require so much pain medication - the very nature of the hospital birth experience is such that staying focused requires an incredibly disciplined person.
I know, this does not sound like the typical birth you see on television or you have heard about from other women who have given birth. I can tell you from personal experience that birth can be painless. It is intense, it is intimate, it is powerful. But it is not dangerous or difficult. The dangers and complications occur when the mother is taken out an environment she feels comfortable and safe in, and is placed into an environment that breeds fear, such as the hospital. Medical studies have shown that when a woman is under stress, her cervix which may have been dilated will close up, and the hormone oxytocin which causes the uterus to contract cannot be produced, meaning that when a women feels fearful or out of control of her birth experience, her body begins to malfunction. This is the source of most complications.
So, in order for you to have the best birth experience possible, you must:
1. Learn what normal birth is like.
2. Learn to understand your body's needs and how your body communicates3. Plan a birth that will make it possible for you to stay focused and
in control of your birth experience.
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Copyright 2014 Judie C. McMath and The Center of the Unhindered Living