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Course Highlights:

How the mind and emotions affect the body | Why labor hurts and why it doesn't have to | Releasing fear the enemy of labor | Preparing your mind and body for birthing | Avoiding artificial induction and episiotomies | Developing ultimate depth relaxation | Understanding the stages of labor | Preparing your Birth Plan | Tapping Nature's own relaxant | Breathing your baby down for birth

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Trust Your Birthing Body

by ANNE SWANSON

How do you know your eyelids are going to blink? That you will continue to breathe as you sleep? That you will receive the message that your bladder is full? Or that the food you consume is going to be digested, the nutrients absorbed and waste products eliminated? These questions may seem strange and unrelated, but they all correlate to having trust and confidence in your body's natural physiological functions. We don't question these and many more everyday occurrences unless there is an illness or a disease which is impacting our natural body processes.

A woman's body knows how to grow and birth her child. The uterus is made of smooth muscle tissue and it requires no external assistance to birth a baby most of the time. There have been documented cases of women in a coma giving birth. How can this be? Smooth muscle responds to signals from the brain, hormonal influences and many other factors. It does not require any active mental participation or direction from the laboring mother. Instead the mother should be releasing all tension from her mind and body and surrendering to the miraculous and completely normal biological process of giving birth.

Since birth is not an illness, and nothing is wrong (which is the function of pain) why do most women experience pain, discomfort and stress during childbirth? It has to do with assumption, belief, and perspective. For most of us who have painful births it is because we have seen and heard negative and painful birth stories, and so we have been conditioned to assume that it must be that way for most everyone. We have a belief based on an assumption. And this belief colors our perspective. We begin to think that birth must be an unpleasant ordeal, why else would so many women be having the same painful experience for so many centuries if they didn't have to. And yet, every once in a while we hear of someone saying that they experienced a comfortable, serene, calm, spiritual and maybe even pain-free birth. What????!!!! How could there be such a dichotomy for the same life experience? The laws of the mind and thought influence the outcome for all of life, including birth.

Thought precedes reality. Whatever is focused on, external or internal, becomes manifested. Intention creates experience. How does this apply to birthing? Mental images become imprinted, and the mind plays out the plan. By imprinting positive thoughts and birth plans, positive outcomes are realized. For every thought or emotion there is a related biochemical response. Relating to birth, when fear of the unknown, or tension from past birth experiences or stories that we have heard is present, there is a response from our autonomic nervous system. This causes the fight or flight response to be triggered. Chemical reactions in a fearful and tense birthing body causes catecholamine to be secreted and muscles constrict rather than relax. The body begins to actually fight itself. This is why women experience pain in childbirth.

So, how do you change your belief's about birth? Start surrounding yourself with people and literature that view pregnancy and birth as normal biological events and not illnesses. Find a care provider who doesn't believe that normal birth is a retrospective diagnosis. But rather stands back and allows birth to progress naturally unless true medical reasons warrant intervention. Have confidence in your body. Aristotle and Hypocrites attended birthing women often. They never made any mention of pain in childbirth in their writings, unless there was an actual medical reason They advocated deep relaxation, the mind-body connection and letting nature take its course. Sounds like the prescription for safe and comfortable birthing is the same now as it was in the past. Trust your body, it knows what to do, learn deep relaxation techniques and allow the natural course of birth to play out, uninterrupted, gentle and safe.