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Painless childbirth, is that possible? | Mom & co

Painless childbirth, is that possible?

Giving birth is for most of you possibly still an unknown territory and therefore very exciting. One of you is looking forward to the birth and the other is reluctant, hesitant or perhaps even afraid. How much pain do the contractions really cause and will I be able to handle this? The promise of painless labour probably sounds very attractive, doesn’t it?

Our image of childbirth

On the social media channels these days we see a lot of “primal”, natural and sometimes painless births. That’s great, but not the reality for everyone. And if that is your image of giving birth, the chances of disappointment are high. On the other hand, there are the negative scenarios from movies or bad experience stories from your environment, but even that does not have to be your reality. Your birth is still in the future and depends on all kinds of elements, which you fortunately can influence.  So in a world full of “birthing extremes”; how do you realistically prepare for your own birth? And when you have fear of pain during birth, how do you deal with that?

The subconscious

How we as humans react to something is controlled 95% (as far as the science now stands) by our subconscious. In everyone’s subconscious there is a memory of all kinds of images and experiences about giving birth. These stored images determine how you react to the phenomenon of giving birth. Is this a positive image? Then there is a much greater chance that you will relax during childbirth. But unfortunately it also works the other way around. If there is fear and tension due to the negative associations you have about giving birth, then you can cramp up during the birth. This is hormonally controlled by the functioning of our nervous system.

The autonomic nervous system

The part of your autonomic nervous system that causes cramping is called the sympathetic nervous system. When this part is activated, the hormone adrenaline goes up. You get into a ‘fight or flight’ situation, as it were. This makes you feel unsafe.  Unexpected circumstances can trigger this in your body and challenge your mindset. Showing flexibility and moving with you from positivity and strength is something we train future parents in during our pregnancy course. Be mild to yourself, and support each other and yourself from what you have trained, and with what presents itself in the moment. You can do this, and you are going to do this together!

Birth hormones

What helps then? Relaxing. This does not mean that you relax in complete surrender as you would in a spa. No, it’s grinding hard. Giving birth is raw. But even here you can move along with the hard work that your body is doing. If you manage to find surrender and relaxation during these extremely physical challenges, the parasympathetic part of your nervous system is activated. This stimulates oxytocin (the contraction hormone) and endorphins. And these two hormones reinforce each other and put you in a positive spiral. The more relaxed you are, the more oxytocin your body produces which makes for better contractions. And when your contractions get more intense, your body starts to produce more endorphins, which cause you to feel confident and relax better. And that’s where the gold is. Endorphins are, in fact, a natural painkiller. It makes the raw edges fade, you have a changing sense of time, and you can go into a fine intoxication. Endorphins create relaxation and confidence, so learning how to stimulate this, even during huge challenges, is very valuable.

Okay, this is what you want when you go into labor. But how?

A good pregnancy course is an essential ingredient if you ask us. Research shows that having knowledge and thus realistic expectations contributes positively to the experience of childbirth. This gives you direction. It’s your body, so you decide. It is not only important that you learn the facts of childbirth during the pregnancy course, but also the combination of knowledge, technique, personal control, breathing exercises and mindset. That whatever challenge presents itself, you, with the support of your partner, can relax and create the right hormones.

What makes you relax?

Therefore it is extremely important to know where you relax. Plough this question out, involve your partner in this, how can he or she support you with this? What things can he or she say to you, for example, and what not? What often helps enormously is warmth. In any form. From a bath, shower, hot water bottle, warm hands to thick socks on your feet.

Light touch massage

There are also special massage techniques, which are also discussed in our pregnancy course, that help your body to produce more endorphins. For example the light touch massage, where you ‘massage’ the back with very gentle touch. By touching the nerves in this area, senses are ‘distracted’ and brain stem and cortex are greatly stimulated. The electrical activity in the brain stem and both hemispheres is then converted to endorphins and helps you get into that intoxication. And so you can get back into that positive spiral of relaxation and confidence.

Affirmations and visualizations

Giving birth demands a lot from your body, you can become stressed, stress causes fear and fear often causes pain. A mental tool to remind you of the fact that you can do this is therefore very nice. Visualizations and affirmations are a powerful tool for this. Because you apply these techniques already during pregnancy, you get direct access to the subconscious and can store words and images that give you strength and confidence. By practicing this often (conditioning), you change your mindset. We want to teach you with our pregnancy course to be one step ahead, through knowledge, mindset and technique.

Give birth together with your partner

And if you are not able to cope on your own, your partner will always be able to bring you to that resting point, with confidence. That is why it is so incredibly important that you feel well prepared together and that you are all on the same page. This is not something you learn in one day, that’s why it is important to practice with the different tools, to increase the positive vibe around giving birth and to learn to relax your body consciously.

In our (online) pregnancy courses we prepare you realistically and teach you which different tools you can use so that you can respond to the birth from positivity and strength. Even if everything goes differently than you had hoped. This can increase your natural high of endorphins, and who knows, maybe you will give birth without pain.

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