Birthing 101

“The universe is an infinite reservoir of unimaginable energy–and you are an expression of that energy”, says Deepak Chopra in his book Boundless Energy and one of the most powerful energies in the universe is that of the human contraction during birth.  These intense contractions are needed to bring life into this universe.  The body is made up of billions of cells, and once a woman understands that the apparently material structure of the body is really nothing other than pure energy than a woman can begin to understand what she must learn to control during her labor and that is energy. Once a woman understands that this energy is a powerful,-intense-positive energy then the woman can learn to master this energy and not be intimidated by it.  If a woman is educated and properly informed about births energetic power she can have a fabulous birth and can be empowered for life.  For women who are not properly prepared this powerful energy-the contraction-will overtake her and make her crumble under its intensity.   A woman needs to be physically and emotionally prepared to handle this whirling, spinning, and intense power; if she’s not prepared she will become scared and overwhelmed.  Just as people prepare for marathons months in advance, woman need to gather their knowledge and physical strength in order to endure and blossom with the intensity of labor.  The parable of contractions during birth is often compared to that of the bodysurfer at the ocean side.  The bodysurfer must position and ready himself for the wave in order to ride it properly and not get dragged under the water.  As the wave approaches the surfer readies himself, feeling and preparing for the impending wave.  As the wave comes closer the surfer needs to anticipate the wave’s movements and be prepared to jump in front of the wave ready to ride the wave not allowing the wave to break on him.  In order to ride the wave safely and float to shore with ease he needs to make sure his body position is correct he breathes at the correct time and controls his body moving with the wave not working against the wave’s energy.  If the surfer times the wave properly the surfer will gracefully and smoothly glide to shore feeling invigorated and in control.  If the surfer is not prepared and gets distracted, the approaching wave will crash down on the bodysurfer, pulling him under the water making it difficult to breath.  The wave will end up controlling the surfer and ultimately will end up crashing on the sand, out of breath and exhausted.  This is the same with contractions during labor.  If unprepared, a woman gets pulled under by the pain unable to catch her breath, and when the contraction finishes she is “washed up”, feeling out of control and exhausted.  The goal for a woman is to learn to anticipate the contraction, jump ahead of the pain with her mind, learn what to do with her body and gracefully ride the contraction, being a partner with the powerful energy helping bring her baby into the world and not crushed by its power.

To experience an amazing birth a woman needs: a great doula or labor-assist, having only people in the room who will not contribute unwanted feelings or thoughts, through knowledge of what to do with her body during contractions, and by not letting fear and preconceived notions overpower the mind.

When you feel safe and supported in labor, your brain produces hormones that help you to relax, allowing your labor to progress, and reducing your risk of needing interventions that can cause complications.  Research has shown that the better the support a woman receives, the easier her labor will be, and the more satisfied she will be with her birth experience.  It is also well documented that women who receive continuous labor support from midwives, doulas, or labor-assists are less likely to have a cesarean birth, or other potentially dangerous medical interventions.  Therefore, it is important to interview a few doulas and choose the one that feels right for you.  One who seems medically knowledgeable, sensitive to your personal strengths and weakness, and who has sense of humor.

It is also important not to have people around you during labor that make you feel uncomfortable.  If your mother or mother-in-law wants to be there and you do not feel comfortable, then they can be invited to visit you after the birth, helping to cook you meals, or hold the baby while you bathe.  This is not a time to worry about offending anyone or hurting their feelings or taking care of others.  The people at your birth need to have the intuitive sense to understand what your personal needs are during your birth and not impose their thoughts or personal experiences.

The next important thing is to study and read about what to do with your body during contractions and pushing.  Lack of movement during the birthing time enables the intense energy of the contractions to build and compound in the abdomen which causes a great deal of unnecessary pain.  There are many good books available today that can guide a woman on the importance of an ‘active birth’.   Women need to move during labor.  Woman all over the world have developed what is called a ‘birthing dance’.  This is a dance where the woman leans forward supporting herself and moves her hips in a rhythmic swaying and spiraling movement. The spiraling that is used for natural childbirth is an actual physical movement where you spiral your hips in big flowing circles.  If you allow your body to glide along this spiral, then the intensity of the contractions are being actively moved and spiraled in a downward motion which prevents pain and focuses the energy in a useful way.  This swaying or spiraling opens your pelvis and encourages your baby to travel downward.  Deepack Chopra also teaches, “The same power that spins the planets around the sun resides within every human being, and it is abundantly available within you…….  The individual particles that make up the body are energy vibrations within the larger universal field.” A woman during labor has a choice to be a part of this vibrant universal energy. Being in an upright and standing position is healthiest for the mother and baby.  An interesting study was done regarding coached pushing (meaning someone told the mother when to push while she was in a laying position), or spontaneous pushing (letting her push when she felt like it, in a standing position).  The study conducted by Schaffer and colleagues at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, May 2005, randomized 325 women giving birth. The results three months after birth showed: Women in the coached group had decreased bladder capacity and less urge to empty their bladder and were more likely to have an overactive bladder, and to have stress incontinence. This stands to reason because when you are on your back being told to ‘push’ you are pushing 7 pounds or so of baby uphill against gravity. Also, pregnancy hormones relax the ligaments allowing your pelvis to open at the time of the birth to making more room for your baby to pass through it. Lying on your back with the weight of your body pressing into the bed prevents the end of your spinal column (your sacrum) from flexing open. The women in the spontaneous group did not have the bladder symptoms.

The woman’s state of mind during labor is also crucial.  Women need to have the supportive people around them. The woman needs the freedom and the security to express her needs and feelings as silly as they may seem.  She needs to be encouraged to understand this is a powerful energy that she can handle and she needs to be allowed to find her deep inner strength.  There was an interesting study done on dogs.  They took the pain away from the female dogs during labor and it was found that the dogs had trouble bonding to their pups and had trouble feeding them.  So, it is important to understand that somehow we women are supposed to experience pain (or energy disguised as pain) during labor.  It is an experience that can help us grow and teach us to go beyond our breaking points which ultimately makes us stronger and more able to handle the difficult road ahead of us—-parenting.