Sunday, 30 November 2014

Beautiful birth video.

Thank you Rebecca Blech founder of Syntonic Birth for this inspirational birth video. OK this is not this young lady's first baby, which usually take longer to push out, but her lovely family and calm demeanour are inspirational to all women. Lovely.

Pain Free Labour Books are now available from Amazon, cheap as chips.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Fear of Childbirth, latest research.

 Seen on the Royal College of Midwives web page.

 ‘Fear of childbirth’ and ways of coping for pregnant women and their partners during the birthing process: a salutogenic analysis
05/09/2014 - 14:15
To explore ‘fear of childbirth’ and its impact on birth choices among women and their partners in Northern Ireland.
Jean Greer BSc, RM. Anne Lazenbatt PhD, MSc, BSc. Laura Dunne PhD, BA.

‘Tokophobia’ is defined as morbid fear of childbirth (Bhatia and Jhanjee, 2012), and this diagnosis has recently been endorsed within the UK as an indication for planned CS (NICE, 2011). This decision seems contrary to current trends within maternity services that focus on promoting normality in birth (Gould, 2012). However, there have been concerns for some time among midwives that the conceptualisation of fear of childbirth as a pathological process, situates the problem within the individual woman, and deflects attention from maternity care provision (Walsh, 2002).
All the women feared the pain of labour and were reassured by the availability of a 24-hour epidural service. Despite this, the majority of the women (65%) expressed hope that they could labour without an epidural, although they lacked confidence in their ability to cope and feared the pain would be too severe. Six of the primigravidas in this study (40%) had already been advised to have an epidural during labour by family or friends and all the men wanted their partner to have as much pain relief as possible during the birth“She [her mother] said: ‘If you want my advice, you get an epidural as soon as you go into labour because you’ll never be able to cope.’ You see they all know me and know what I’m like” (W10, prim).
 Four participants (11%) identified midwife support as a resource to help them cope with birth. These were two multiparous women and partners. Recalling previous births,
they described how the midwife had reduced their fears: “...from what I could see, the midwife had everything under control and like it seemed ok... so I was pretty relaxed” (M3, third baby).
Normal birth was still very alluring for most of the women in this study. It has been reported previously that women idealise normal birth while also rejecting it as dangerous (Maier, 2010). Most women in this study (89%) aspired to a normal birth but more than half (68%) feared they would not be capable of achieving it safely without medical intervention. Gould (2012) contends that this is a consequence of the language of risk that is used when offering birthing choices to women. This perception of riskiness reduces the comprehensibility dimension for women, and increases their need for resources to help manage birth. 
See the post 'Progressive Muscle Relaxation'.
It is little wonder that women today have tokophobia as our society teaches them through the media, family, friends and health professionals that contractions WILL be painful while ignoring the simple fact that uterine smooth muscle was never designed to cause the sensation of pain during a normal first stage of labour.

Pain Free Labour books now available from Amazon.


Thursday, 13 November 2014

Childbirth Unmasked 6

Chapter 4 The Womb

The womb, otherwise known as the uterus. A truly wonderful organ as it grows from the size of a pear to the size of a large melon in just 9 months. In this chapter Margaret Jowitt explores the form and function of the uterus as well as how it responds to stress hormones.
" provide a safe environment for a growing fetus for nine months and to expel its contents at the end of that time safely and efficiently."

The uterus is mainly a bag of smooth muscle. This type of muscle is not under our direct control and is also found in the stomach, urinary bladder and surrounding most blood vessels. It was never designed by nature to cause pain when it is contracting normally. So why does it? Margaret quite rightly points her finger at  stress hormones as the main culprits.
"Since we cannot make smooth muscle work by an act of will, the only way of influencing it is to use indirect, psychological means - changing our state of mind and thus altering the secretion of stress hormones."
Thank you Margaret, I have been teaching pregnant women in this blog how to use relaxation techniques in pregnancy and labour in order to reduce stress hormones so that women's bodies can labour without hindrance. It is thought that many women go into spontaneous labour at night when they are asleep as there are no stress hormones around at that time.

" ...uterine sympathetic nerves become more sensitive in pregnancy... This implies an important physiological role for nervous input during labour. One biological role of pain is to promote instinctive pain-avoidance behaviour."
Remember the saber toothed tiger in my post Why Labour Hurts 3? It appears at the cave door of our lovely cave woman who is in labour. OMG. The first thing she would do is to release adrenalin into her system so that she would have extra energy to run away or stay and fight. But 'Oh No' her cervix is nearly fully dilated, if her baby is born now then the tiger will think its her birthday and celebrate with a very fresh human, covered in a tasty liquor dressing accompanied by a side order of bloody placenta. Yum.Well, Margaret's uterine sympathetic nerves are at work here by reacting to our cave woman's fear by secreting stress hormones that allow mum to escape while preventing her cervix from fully opening, allowing adrenalin to attach itself to receptor sites on the human cervix making it rigid, harder to open.

In my post Why Labour Hurts 4, I try to impart to women the importance of not lying down in labour.
"During the first stage of labour the fetus and the uterus dance an intricate pas de deux which directs the fetus towards the cervix... the mother should be allowed freedom of movement in order to give full rein to these directed contractions. I suggest that painful contractions occur when the uterus is prevented from working as it should... Freedom of movement is a cornerstone of instinctive childbirth. Immobility is a recipe for obstetric disaster..."

Thank you Margaret for explaining in far more detail than I could ever manage about why I was able to have my two pain free labours. My third labour was spoiled by being forced to lie down on a hospital bed for the duration, and I was in agony. I just wish that your book had been around for me to read at the time. I look forward to reading chapter 5.

Pain Free Labour books are available from Amazon to download or in paper form. xx
Ever wondered why animals seem to have labour contractions that cause them no pain?