Saturday, 23 November 2013

The lady who had a pain free labour, and then gave it away.

Whenever you tell someone that you are a midwife you get the inevitable birth stories. I love them. A young lady I met whilst out and about asked me what I did for a living and then told me her birth story.

Mum told me that she had been in the pool at her local hospital where she felt so nice and calm and relaxed that the contractions stopped causing her any pain. They were still there but were pain free.

She became upset at this as she thought that if they were not causing her any pain then they were not normal contractions and her labour had stopped.

So she got out of the pool and started walking about, becoming more and more stressed. At last the contractions began to hurt again and she was finally happy that she was once again in labour. She did not however get back in the pool as she did not want the contractions to stop hurting again.

Arrrrrrrgh. Do I have to shout it from a mountain top somewhere? UTERINE SMOOTH MUSCLE IS NOT DESIGNED TO CAUSE PAIN WHEN CONTRACTING UNDER NORMAL CONDITIONS!

OK, I feel better now.

If you are nice and comfy and relaxed and not secreting any adrenalin in the pool and your contractions stop causing pain then please stay there and enjoy the rest of your labour. As long as you can still feel your tummy going hard every 2-3 minutes then you are still in labour. Honest.

Pain Free Labour books now available from Amazon.
 

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Hazards to a Pain Free Labour - 6

By far the biggest hazard to a pain free labour is YOU. Society has taught you that labour will be painful, that the contractions will cause pain during the first stage of labour. This view of childbirth has been around for the past three hundred years. Why would the weight of all that knowledge and history be wrong?
If you want to solve a murder then you look for who will benefit from a persons death. If you want to solve the mystery of why we are taught that labour will be painful then look at who has benefited from our pain.

The international best-seller Dean Koontz captured the essence of why we accept painful labours so easily when he wrote:

  •        “Fear is the engine that drives the human animal. Humanity sees the world as a place of uncountable threats, and so the world becomes what humanity imagines it to be.”

In our dark dank past women were exploited. They were not even allowed an education so that they could say “Hey, stop exploiting me you patriarchal society you”. We have had to fight tooth and nail for our relative freedom. The only battle that has yet to be won in the civilised world is childbirth.

Fear of childbirth has been instilled in us for hundreds of years. Doctors have made money out of us by keeping us in fear so that their services are needed to provide a medical model of care to help us birth. Early midwives were burned as witches so that women would turn to the medics in their time of need.

Modern health care follows blindly the belief in painful labours as the norm. There has been no research that I know of to support this belief. Within the UK we pride ourselves on offering evidence based practice and yet there is no evidence that uterine smooth muscle is designed to cause the sensation of pain when contracting normally. Yet we continue to believe. “The world becomes what humanity imagines it to be.”

Perhaps women want painful labours. Perhaps fear is the engine that drives the human animal. Perhaps we only feel comfortable when something we believe in comes true. Any other outcome would be too hard to accept, too big a paradigm shift for us to relate to.

Well tough. Get with the plan. Pain Free Labour has begun to seep into our belief system concerning childbirth. Midwifery led birthing centers are springing up all over the UK. Women are having pain free labours during the first stage when taught how to approach labour. Relaxation techniques are being learnt in parentcraft sessions to keep women from entering the stress/pain cycle often seen in labour.

We are being allowed to learn the truth about labour now in the UK only because the strain on the NHS from medicalised care has become too much. A calm pain free labouring woman in a pool is cheap compared to a theatre full of expensive equipment and staff. The caesarian section rate has reached an all time high. We have lost faith in our innate ability to labour naturally.

If I had not experienced this phenomena of pain free labour personally then I may well have been one of the supporters of offering elective caesarian sections for maternal choice. As a midwife I have helped countless women to have a pain free labour. As an author, I have explained in detail why adrenalin, secreted when we are anxious, can cause contractions to become painful.

So, who will join me in supporting the massive shift that we need in our belief system that will enable women to labour as nature intended; with medical support on stand by if needed? Who will be brave enough to swim against the tide and face the wrath of humanity when one of their “uncountable threats” is removed leaving them uncertain and afraid? Who will take a leap of faith in order to free women from the last of societies manacles holding us down? Who, maybe you?

Pain Free Labour books now available from Amazon.