Power v. Pain

Hypnobirthing and pain during labour


The above words are not usually something you see as often, though of course not always, hypnobirthing instructors like to talk of pressure rather than pain.  I even read once someone saying ‘if you feel pain rather than just pressure, then you’re doing it wrong’ which I completely disagree with. Not only is that untrue, but it’s disempowering! The last thing a woman in labour wants is to think she is ‘doing it wrong’ when she feels something other than a pressure. Whilst some women may indeed have relatively pain free labours, most women need to find a way to work with pain and reframe it when it comes to giving birth.

Power is where it is at, not pain.

A woman who has prepared using hypnobirthing is in a place where she fully understands what is going on when her body is producing powerful surges (contractions). She knows her body is using these incredibly intense surges to help her birth her baby. It’s her body creating these surges so they can’t be more powerful than her as they are her.  It’s no walk in the park, but she’s not frightened by her body.

She feels the next surge build, greets it with a sigh, mentally scans her body for tension and releases it from the top of her head down to the tip of her toes and then begins her first beautifully, relaxing breath slowly in, filling her lungs, and gently letting her breath out. She knows that a surge only lasts around a minute and the peak of intensity is just 20-30 seconds long. She knows she can do anything for a minute.

The surge peters off and she sighs out again to release any built up tension and knows that it was an efficient surge full of oxygen, focus and relaxation, bringing her one small but almighty step closer to meeting her baby.

There is no pain or pressure felt in between surges (unless a woman has a ‘back to back’ baby whereby she may feel back discomfort in between contractions) so in between them take a sip of water, have a nibble of something if you fancy, empty your bladder (a full bladder can slow things down) and if you like, have a long hug with your birth partner. Hugging releases the hormone oxytocin which amongst many things, is a wonderful birthing hormone.

Don’t think about the surges you have done or have to do, just take one at a time – ‘right now I’m breathing through this surge, I’m on my first breath, my second breath and I’m now on my third breath I can feel it getting less and less…’.  Rather than saying to yourself ‘I can do this’ say ‘I am doing this!’. Because you are.

Consider also the positions you adopt – remember that being on your back is the least helpful and instead think UFO – Upright, Forward, Open positions such as sitting on a birth ball and leaning forward to rest your head on a lowered bed. Or on all fours. UFO positions can open up your pelvis up to 30% more, encourage your baby to move down into the birth canal and you have the power of gravity on your side.

If you’re tired, lay on your side on the bed rather than on your back. Rock, move, sway, distract. Find your internal rhythm – rhythmic rocking, breathing, counting, tapping.

Just take one surge at a time. Know that labour pains are not causing you any damage; it’s your body and uterus working hard to bring your baby to you. Give your body the tools of oxygen and relaxation that it needs to do this incredible job with ease.

It is not long now until you will have your baby in your arms. Pause for a moment now and feel your baby in your arms, soft and warm. Spend time visualising your birth, how calm you will be and how you’re going to nail this birth thing like the Goddess you are! 😀

Jackie Kietz is an author, NCT & hypnobirthing instructor, reflexologist and baby massage instructor in SE London. Find out more at www.baby-bumps.net

‘I’m Expecting a Baby’ is available on Amazon here.

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