It turns out, quite surprisingly, that I publish this article around christmas, the time when we celebrate the birthday of Jesus and the rise of Christ consciousness (divine consciousness). Somewhat appropriate, because the topic is birth – in particular birth as potentially festive, cosmically joyful event and the child as a divine manifestation.
Why seems birth so easy to animals and so difficult for us humans? Why should we, who have been created as sexual beings that come together in love and joy, get pregnant and then have to give birth in a painful and stressful way? It just does not make sense. And why have women in some cultures gentle, pain-free childbirths and why do women with less educated and upscale backgrounds usually deal with birthing in such uncomplicated manner?
Trained as HypnoBirthing® practitioner to offer childbirth preparation to expectant parents, I’d like to share the most important facts about natural birthing and HypnoBirthing® as it reveals a whole new perspective on birthing (including a new, much gentler language for the process), which every woman – and man – should be introduced to. HypnoBirthing® helps to resolve limiting social norms and to recover a healthy confidence in the female body, in its natural instincts and in the harmonious orchestration of the mother’s and baby’s bodies at birth.
“When you change the way you view birth, the way you birth will change.”
Marie Mongan, Founder of HypnoBirthing®
The answer to the initial questions is actually rather simple: Fear. For most of their lives, women have been inundated with the negative stories of other women’s birth experiences. Everyone, from their mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, friends, and even strangers, wants to tell them the horrors of giving birth. They have been conditioned to believe that excruciating pain is associated with the delivery. And because of this, women today hold an unprecedented fear of giving birth. Where there is fear, there is tension, where there is tension, there is contraction, and with it come limited perception and limited physiological functions.
This extreme fear not only causes women‘s bodies to become tense with the approaching birthing date – and that stress prohibits their bodies from easily performing what should be a normal natural birthing procedure, resulting in exactly the feared long, painful „labour“ or unnecessary intervention – but also, even before conception, in a lack of confidence in their body‘ inherent capacities to birth. Most women who give birth by the vaginal route rely on pharmaceutical drugs and technologised treatments in the clinical labour rooms, because they fear they cannot manage birth by themselves.
The HypnoBirthing® program is built around an educational process that includes special breathing, relaxation, visualization, meditative practice, clearing of subconscious limiting beliefs, attention to nutrition and positive body toning. Expectant women learn to dismiss fear-based stories, misinformation and birthing myths. And they are helped to see birth as normal. They learn to trust that their bodies know how to bring their babies into the world in the calm and gentle way that nature intended.
„Wow, this is what I was looking for. Deep within I always knew natural birthing methods must exist. Now I feel truly empowered. Even ready to birth alone in a forest, if necessary.“
First time expectant mother after HypnoBirthing® course.
Everywhere in the world, the number of women who give birth to a baby by themselves – which means by their own hormones (e.g. oxytocin and endorphin) – is getting smaller and smaller. While the conditioning of women‘s minds plays a significant role, our society‘s standardised, and by expectant parents mostly unquestioned, “take over” by doctors/nurses/gadgets/medication is the other major influence. Good news is, that a movement of natural birth (meaning without any medical intervention) is gaining more and more momentum, whereby women stop to accept limiting mainstream conditions for their childbirth.
Giving birth can be easy and calm for women. It can even be a pleasurable and highly erotic as well as a deeply spiritual experience. And if a woman is well prepared (positive affirmations, visualisations, hypnosis, relaxation training and breathing techniques) she can give birth without any synthetic hormones (epidural etc.) and without getting her perineum cut.
„To those who say it is just not possible to birth naturally without pain, I say, “But what if we’re right? Wouldn’t it be wonderful?“
Lorne R. Campbell, M.D.
The key role for such an amazing experience plays oxytocin, the „love hormone“ involved in bonding, sex, childbirth, breast-feeding as well as feelings of peace and calm. Those who meditate regularly might know that also meditation can increase oxytocin’s effect. The deep state of rest produced during meditation triggers the brain to release neurotransmitters, including dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins. Ingredients that have vital roles for emotional awareness, attention, perception, self-recognition, decision making and stress regulation.
Dr. Michel Odent talks about the biochemical explanation for why birth is and should be an erotic and sometimes orgasmic event: the main hormone in both sex and birth is the same (oxycontin). And we need as good conditions for good labour as we need good conditions for good lovemaking. Because if a woman produces adrenaline (related to fear) she cannot produce oxyocin, which is the hormone not only needed to deliver the baby but also to deliver the placenta.
It is absolutely necessary for a woman during labour to feel at ease and comfortable (unobserved and not judged), that she is uninhibited to follow intuitively her blue print for labour and encouraged to trust her body to complete this ancient and mystic process. Unfortunately, few women ever have such conditions of privacy, safety and non-disturbance, which is the fundamental problem for why women need so much help when giving birth.
These days it seems more “natural” to replace natural oxytocin with drips of synthetic oxytocin and natural endorphins by epidural anaesthesia. So most women give birth without relying on the release of their own natural hormones. The downside of the readily available synthetic hormones is, that they do not have the same behavioural effects as the natural ones. Synthetic oxytocin for example inhibits the release of natural oxytocin from the woman’s pituitary gland. And the artifical drug will be effective at stimulating uterine contractions, but it will not reach the brain, meaning it will not have the „bonding effect“ as the natural hormone.
Natural methods also require the woman to be an active participant in the birthing process, which involves empowering her to listen to her body and being able to change positions (walking, squatting, rolling, hovering in water or just resting) – in contrast to a woman being stuck in a hospital bed on her back with feet strapped, which has consistently been shown to slow down and complicate labor.
“The same movements that get the baby in, get the baby out.”
From Birthing From Within
Western societies have dramatically disturbed women during the child birth process and these days we seem to have not only a lack of an appropriate cultural model for childbirth but also a lack of time, patience and trust in a woman’s body. Now, this raises several big questions: What effect has this on the baby’s life and the individual relationship of mother and child? How will humanity evolve over generations of women giving birth under such unnatural conditions? And how will women ever get back their sense of ease, grace and ownership for childbirth, and her their own bodies?
It is more urgent than ever to ensure the fullfillment of the basic needs of women giving birth, to become aware and understand the physiological processes, and to give women that knowledge and the freedom of choice.
Being from Germany where natural birthing, home births, waterbirths and trained nurses have long ago started to be widely available, I see a massive lack of experienced doulas, midwives and holistic medical doctors in India. And even if clinic doctors promise to support expectant parents in their natural birthing process, they more often than not change their minds last minute – either because time is short (their golf buddies are waiting) or because higher hospital fees can be charged for c-sections.
“It is not only that we want to bring about an easy labor, without risking injury to the mother or the child; we must go further. We must understand that childbirth is fundamentally a spiritual, as well as a physical, achievement. The birth of a child is the ultimate perfection of human love.”
Dr. Grantly Dick-Read, 1953
Paradigm Shift : Giving birth with ease and grace
1.) Birthing can be calm, gentle, painless and even pleasant for a woman.
2.) A woman and her baby have their own timing which is perfect for them. No “pushing” is needed and no nurse or doctor should interfere, know better and try to shortcut the individual birthing process (“Let me give you an injection and your out of here in no time.”).
3.) If a woman gets her time, space and support, which means she feels safe and can move as she wants, and if she is mentally well prepared (positive affirmations, visualisations, hypnosis, relaxation training and breathing techniques) she can give birth without any synthetic hormones (epidural etc) and without getting her perineum cut.
4.) After the baby arrived “outside” it is best to place the child immediately on the mother’s chest – without slapping its backside, without much wiping, without sucking out liquids from its nose/mouth and without cutting the umbilical chord. The baby will do what is called “breastcrawl”, which means it will find its own way in its own time to the breast of the mother.
5.) Once the newborn latches on mum’s breast another wave of hormones surges within the mother which helps to release the placenta.
6.) When the pulsation of the umbilical chord stops, the baby is able to breath on its own and only then the chord should be cut.
7.) If doctors interfere with the natural process e.g. “forcefully break the water” or introduce artifical hormones, the whole natural cycle is destroyed, especially the mother’s sensitive/delicate yet powerful hormone production which is required for a smooth delivery, and birthing has to be continued and finished with the artificial procedures.
8.) The birthing partner (e.g. husband, friend, mother) plays an important supportive role to the mother during the birth preparation and the actual delivery.
For more information check key words such as Hypnobirthing, Natural Birth, Waterbirth, Homebirth. And have a look at these links:
Michel Odent – 1-3 on gentle birth:
Orgasm During Childbirth:
Movie “Birth As We Know It” – educational version:
From Conscious Birthing to Human Awakening:
The Business of Being Born (documentary by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein):
– Birth Wisdom by Michel Odent
– The Oxytocin Factor: Tapping The Hormone Of Calm, Love, And Healing by Kerstin Uvnas Moberg
– April Asorson, Natural Childbirth Instructor
– The Chopra Centre, Newsletter April 2012
– Elena Tonetti-Vladimirova, Conscious Birth Movement
– Archive “Birth into Being”, http://www.birthintobeing.com
– HypnoBirthing, The Mongan Method
– various correspondences and conversations