Of all the things that I write about natural childbirth, if you learn nothing else from me please let me share with you this single truth, and allow yourself to believe it. Despite everything that you may have seen, heard, read or thought throughout your life time that has lead you to believe that natural childbirth is this excruciating and horribly painful experience, let me tell you, that is not the truth!
For many women I think that they end up having painful childbirths simply because they didn’t know better. There was no one there to educate them, to tell them, “Hey it doesn’t have to be this way, natural childbirth does not have to be painful!”
I was fortunate to come from a line of women who have given natural childbirth and so this information was readily passed down to me, but for many of you who may be the pioneers of natural childbirth in your family this may be new to you.
So let me be the one to tell you that there are very simple steps and techniques to eliminating labor pain. And that you directly affect how much, if any pain you experience during natural childbirth by the choices that you make.
If you adopt these easy tips it will make giving birth a whole heck of a lot easier for you!
You will experience what you expect to experience, so if you expect pain then that is what you’ll get. I know we’ve been told our whole lives that it is going to hurt so changing this in our minds may be a little tricky, but it can be done! Part of the problem with the belief that natural childbirth is filled with pain really just comes from our lack of a better word for it. Our language is too narrow; we have simply one word (pain) to describe virtually anything that we deem as unpleasant. However the word pain is not appropriate in all situations.
Definition of Pain:
“An unpleasant feeling often caused by intense or damaging stimuli, such as stubbing a toe, burning a finger, putting alcohol on a cut, and bumping the “funny bone.” The International Association for the Study of Pain’s widely used definition states, “Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage. Pain motivates the individual to withdraw from damaging situations, to protect a damaged body part while it heals, and to avoid similar experiences in the future.”
So there it is, pain is our body’s way of communicating with us. When our body experiences something that is not a natural part of its healthy process it sends us a signal that tells us, “Hey don’t do that again or it is going to cause damage!”
This definition of pain does not apply to natural childbirth. It is not an injury, an illness or a disease. It is not something your body has to protect itself from. It is not your body going wrong! It is actually quite the contrary; it is your body working perfectly to do the job that it is supposed to be doing. It is birthing your baby.
The Difference between Pain and Pressure in Natural Childbirth
During natural childbirth your body will work harder than it ever has before, all systems are Go! Every part of your body will become fully activated. And this will create sensations that are all new to you, that you have never experienced before. But it is not neccesarily pain unless you chose to turn it into pain.
It’s important to understand what is happening in your body during birth. Your uterus is going to be rhythmically contracting and then releasing, contracting and then releasing. This will build in strength and intensity until your baby is born. While it is firmly contracting inwards your baby is little by little being pushed downward. Now this is not something that you actively do, it is something that your body does perfectly all on its own. And as long as you can relax enough not to get in its way, then it will continue to do its job, and you will continue to experience it as a very strong sturdy pressure.
But if you react to those new sensations by tensing up, then your body is going to try to help you by communicating with you in the only way it knows how to. It will send you a signal of pain to tell you, “Hey stop doing that, don’t clinch up! I can’t do my job well if you’re gonna be fighting against me.”
So if you do feel pain it is because your muscles are clinched, and your body is trying to tell you to release and relax.
Now I know that it can be a challenge to relax when all of that pressure is going on inside of you. But here are some easy tips that are designed to help you stay relaxed so that your body can do its work.
An Open Mouth = an Open Vagina
This one is easy. Open your mouth. Let it hang wide open. It doesn’t matter if you feel foolish; when you are giving birth looking foolish should be the last thing from your mind. There are two big reasons for keeping an open mouth during natural childbirth.
One: Your jaw is a control valve for all of the sphincters in your body. (This is important because your vagina is a sphincter, it is a muscle that opens and closes.) When your jaw is clinched tight so are your sphincters, when your jaw is nice and relaxed and open so are your sphincters. An open mouth = an open vagina.
Two: When your mouth is closed it is too easy to clinch your teeth and jaw together when you feel the pressure from your contractions. This clinching of your jaw subsequently clinches and tightens your whole body which will result in your body sending you that pain signal to tell you to stop doing that. Your body needs to be able to freely move, expand, contract and make space for your baby to come down. To allow this to happen without pain you need to stay nice and relaxed, soft and pliable. Let your mouth hang loose and open. An open mouth = an open vagina.
Vocalize to Release Pressure and Let it Out
As your uterus contracts and the pressure and energy begins to build inside of you, do not hold it all in. It helps to find a way to move it through and let it out. Vocalizing is a great way to move the energy through, and to prevent it from compounding! Again get over looking foolish, none of that matters. Just release and let go!
Here is a post that will expand your awareness of just how significant of a role sound plays in natural childbirth, also it will give you some tips and techniques, and has an absolutely must see video of a very empowered woman vocalizing amazingly!
Do Not Underestimate the Power of Your Breath
You can actually control the amount of intensity that is experienced through learning how to move it through with your breathing. If you make the mistake of holding or breath or not breathing fully then your body has a hard time continuing on with it’s job because it is being restricted and deprived of essential oxygen. And that is when pain comes in to the picture, because again your body is telling you, “don’t do that.” Don’t constrict your breath, just let it flow. Here is a video with some tips on how to breathe effectively. It starts out a little rocky so I recommend starting around 4:00 http://mynaturalchildbirth.org/natural-childbirth-breathe-your-baby-out/
Learn Spiraling: The Best Natural Childbirth Technique Out There
First of all you’ll want to always stay upright when giving natural childbirth, the hospitals version of birth with the Mother lying on her back is the worst possible position you can be in, and the most painful. While you are upright the physical act of spiraling may be the biggest and most valuable natural childbirth technique of them all! Actual movement in your body is the best way to move the energy through without allowing it to compound. This article will teach you all about spiraling: http://mynaturalchildbirth.org/natural-childbirth/
Only Use Positive Self Talk and Visualization
Natural childbirth is experienced on two levels, a physical level and a mental level. Your thoughts are as real as anything during birth and what you think will become your reality.
Whatever you do, do not say a single negative thing to yourself during birth.
Do not ever say, “this hurts,” I can’t do this,” or anything that will place doubt or fear into your mind. The only thing those negative thoughts will do is cause you to tense up. And as we already know tensing up will cause your body to send you pain in an attempt to communicate with you, “stop doing that!”
Instead trust birth, and trust your body. Always tell yourself that it feels good. Repeat to yourself over and over and over again with every pressure wave, “aaah this feels GREAT!” Imagine yourself in the midst of a very enjoyable experience and it will be enjoyable. Imagine and tell yourself open, open, open and you will easily open.
Get in the Water It Feels Great!
Water is an ancient secret to birth, woman have been entering into the water to birth their babies since time began. They have gone into lagoons, the sea and other bodies of water to birth their babies simply because it feels good. Nowadays since most of us birth inside we use water birth tubs. I suggest getting one that allows for you to stay upright while you are in it, they can be rented online, or you can buy a big kiddie pool, or even use your bath tub.
Water is so effective at easing labor pain that it is often referred to as natures epidural. And I can attest to how wonderfully it works! It immediately reverses the effects of gravity, so the pressure becomes much less, and much more tolerable. The minute you step into the water your body is able to relax much easier. Also water gives you that feeling of weightlessness so it is much easier to move flow and sway into positions that feel comfortable to you which is a huge help! And in no way are you committed to staying in the water, you can always get in and out at any time.
None of these techniques are new, they are ancient secrets that have been passed down through generations of Mothers and Grandmothers who have been giving natural childbirth since the beginning of time. They sure did work amazingly for me! My birth was the furthest thing from the painful births that we are accustomed to seeing in the movies. If you have never seen the video of my birth I welcome you to watch it. Just click on my birth video on the top of the page. I look forward to hearing how these natural childbirth techniques work for you, and if you have any tips to share that helped you to eliminate labor pain I would love to hear about them!