“A factor in labour is the intense sensation. It is beyond the expectations of anyone who has never given birth. This intense sensation is simply a part of the whole, and when there is no fear, it simply is.” Osho
Pain is the Power of Birth!
– Pain is a strong sensation that grabs your attention – and you need to pay attention to your body! Where your attention goes, energy and relaxation will follow.
– If you don’t like the words ‘pain’ or ‘contraction’ you think of the strong sensations as ‘expansions’ or ‘surges’ or use Ina May Gaskin’s description of contractions as: “an interesting sensation that requires all of your attention”.
– Pain guides women into the best positions and movements that help alleviate the pain and at the same time help the labour along.
– Pain is a normal, healthy sign of the peak performance of the uterus to stretch the cervix open. Pain is the very mechanism that nature has designed to birth babies – why get rid of the pain? Use birthing drugs only if they are medically necessary.
– Pain is a sign of things going right! (Unlike others in hospital)
– Childbirth pain produces endorphins which are 10x more powerful than morphine
Nerves in the cervix, then in the pelvic floor and vagina, transmit stretching sensations. This signalsthe pituitary gland to produce more oxytocin to step up the tempo of labour. In response, endorphins are also produced. This wonderful feedback of pain/hormones is the way the body effectively gives birth.
Effective ways to work with the pain:
– Move! Move however your body feels to move.
– Breathe! Your breath is a rope to hang on to during labour. Breathe into the pain. Use the letting go breath, the full deep breath, the humming breath.
– Use sound. Send the pain, the low deep sounds into the ground.
– Remember: this is a good pain with a purpose – pain is what births your baby!
– Open to the sensations.
– Notice what is already working…and do more of that
– Remember the pain will pass
– Simply be aware. Be aware of sensations and your breath. Your awareness is fearless.
– Let thoughts/fears float by. If any fear sticks talk with your support team.
– Even if there are intense sensations you can stay connected to your inner beingness that is naturally spacious, open, aware and calm.
– Remember your partnership with your baby.
– Use a special object that gives your strength
– Rely on your support team.
– Have an independent midwife or birth attendant that you know and trust. They will help you draw on your inner resources to embrace the pain – as well as give practical skill and expertise.
– Draw on your inner resources: your strength of spirit.
Yoga and meditation help us to fully embrace the intensity of life, moment by moment, not only in childbirth but in all aspects of life. When the intensity of childbirth is beyond what we ever imagined, yoga and meditation help us connect with our most precious resource: our strength of spirit, our fearless awareness. This embrace of life, is meditation in action.
Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space. Women know how to give birth.
The 5 Element themes we explore in prenatal yoga classes help us embrace the total experience of birthing.
Earth reminds us to face the intensity with strength, a rock-solid support team, in a place that feels safe to give birth in. Water reminds the birthing woman to surrender to her body, her rhythmic movement, the flow of birthing energy and a deep ocean of presence she feels underneath the pain. With the Fire element, women are empowered and courageous as they say yes to the intensity of birth. The Air element reminds the birthing woman that her breath is a rope to hang onto. She breathes in the moment as it is. She breathes out letting go into the moment as it is. Space is awareness and shows us that birth is meditation in action.
Meditation is a deep embrace of the moment as it is. Even as the sensations are strong, women can find a sense of internal space, a deep, calm, quiet, still presence within. The birthing woman knows herself as beingness itself. This beingness simply IS. It is centred like the earth, flows like the water, moves powerfully like fire, has a rhythm like the breath and it is vast, spacious and open like the sky.
Other Practical Suggestions:
– Warm shower, bath, birthing pool
– Heat packs, hot towels
– Change position, walk, change rooms.
Useful Words – choose ones you like!
– Flow with it
– You can do it
– Make more space
– Breathe in space
– Let go
– Your body knows what to do
Add your own words and messages that will help you give birth. Talk with your support team about what messages you would like them to give you. Of course a silent, attentive presence from your support team is wonderful too.
Advice to women about birth:
It is hard work, it hurts a lot and….YOU CAN DO IT!!
Compiled by Anahata Giri www.oneheartyoga.com.au
Anahata Giri run The Yoga of Birth & the 5 Elements Prenatal 8 Week Yoga Course at One Heart based at the Abbotsford Convent. She also runs the Yoga of Birth: Teaching Prenatal Yoga: Graduate Certificate. She is passionate about empowering women to embrace the intensity and blessing of birthing our children.