It goes without saying: labour is a natural, normal process. A woman’s body instinctively knows how to give birth. The releasing of hormones signals the body to begin labouring, guiding the process to work baby out into the world. It’s a wonderful thing! However, real talk: the fact that labour is natural and normal doesn’t nullify the fact that it does still cause some pain and discomfort. But as we tell our clients: there is “necessary” pain and “unnecessary” pain. These different types of pain might be totally new to you, so allow me to break it down…
This pain is driven by fear and tension. When we are scared or frightened we tense our muscles, this tension restricts oxygen to our muscles causing the sensation of increased pain. In labour, this pattern of fear and tension leads to even more pain and discomfort, and begins what we doulas refer to as the “Fear-Pain-Tension” cycle. When you fear you tense up, and when you tense up you experience increased pain. When you experience increased pain, you fear. So on and so forth…
This is the good kind of pain (yes, there IS a good kind of pain!) Rather than being driven by fear and tension, this pain is simply physiological. It is caused by the uterus contracting, the cervix thinning and opening, and the pressure of the baby’s head dropping downward. This is the body’s way of working a baby out, and a woman has to go through it to bring her baby earthside. This pain is generally manageable with focus, proper breathing, good support from your doula and partner, massage and other hands-on comfort measures.
So, how can you eliminate unnecessary pain in labour? Thankfully, there are a number of ways...
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For more information, or to book a free consultation, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to talk with you and help prepare you for the best birth possible!