How to have a PAIN-FREE birth

 
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Yes, you heard me. You can have a PAIN-FREE* birth if you know how. This is based on SCIENCE! So here’s the most important science lesson you, as a pregnant woman, will ever have.

Your uterus

Your uterus is where baby is safely living and growing in your belly. If you imagine a big red balloon, that is your uterus. But instead of being made out of rubber, it is made out of MUSCLES! Can you believe it? Your uterus is just a muscle!

Your uterus is made of round muscles and long muscles. Now think about that big red balloon again. The round muscles spiral around that big red balloon, getting closer together as they head towards the knot of the balloon (in this metaphorical world, that knot is your cervix). Then, your long muscles pull up and over the balloon.

What is a contraction?

A contraction, or as us hypnobirthing folk like to call them, a surge, is simply those muscles opening your cervix. How they do that is surprisingly simple. The round muscles can’t move out of the way on their own, so the long muscles pull on the round muscles to open the cervix. Amazing right?

Your uterus works like any other muscle in your body - IN A PAIR! Just like when you bend your arm… your triceps release and your biceps pull. And then, when you straighten your arm, they work in the reverse... your triceps pull and your biceps release. To open your cervix, the round muscles release and the long muscles pull! And with each surge, those muscles will open your cervix more and more.

Why some women will feel pain AND why you don’t have to!

Now, this next bit is based on Grantly Dick-Read’s Fear - Tension - Pain cycle. The two nervous systems that affect birth are:

The Sympathetic Nervous System
The Parasympathetic Nervous System

AKA

The Emergency Response (Fight or Flight)
The Calm Response

When you are in the calm response, you release a special hormone called OXYTOCIN. The hormone that we produce when we kiss, cuddle, laugh, and have sex! It’s the ultimate FEEL GOOD hormone. This hormone is what DRIVES labour. It sends oxygen and blood supply to where you need it most - your uterus and your baby. Without it, your labour probably won’t go anywhere without assistance.

When you are in the emergency response, you release ADRENALINE. And we’ve all heard of that one, right? Adrenaline is the hormone that puts us on high alert - if we feel we are in danger, and feel fear, adrenaline is released. Oxygen and blood supply are sent to your extremities (your arms and legs), for you to fight or flight.

You can’t be in the CALM and the EMERGENCY response at the same time! So, you’re either fearful and scared, releasing adrenaline and sending that oxygen and blood to your arms legs, OR you’re calm and relaxed, producing the lovely oxytocin and sending that lovely oxygen and blood to your uterus and baby.

Now, I’ve got a little exercise for you. Put your hand up in the air, arm straight and start opening and closing your hand… like it’s pumping. Now time yourself, keep doing that for 2 minutes.

How did that feel?

With your arm up in the air your hand is working without oxygen and without blood. It becomes tired, harder to work, and feels quite uncomfortable the longer it is up there and the longer it goes without oxygen and blood. This is what happens to your uterus when you are in the emergency response. It has little blood or oxygen, so can’t work optimally. That is when women will have a painful labour.

And not only that, when you are in the calm response, you release BETA-ENDORPHINS which are 20 - 200% MORE POWERFUL THAN MORPHINE! Our body’s on natural painkiller.

So, how do you have a pain-free birth?

Release the fear and stay calm.

Hypnobirthing works to release this fear day after day, so that when it comes to labour you know how to stay in the calm response so you can have a comfortable, swift and easy labour. Magic! Well… it’s just science really.

For more information on what the full hypnobirthing course entails click here. If you are interested in our group courses, click here, or if you would like a private course, click here. I’d love to see you there and help you along your positive birth journey!

Jess x

* Pain-free. All women are different. A pain-free birth depends on use and practice of hypnobirthing techniques, as well as medical conditions.

 
Jessica Neal