Childbirth stories are part of our culture, and many women who prepare for childbirth hear horror stories about how excruciating pain is an integral component of the natural process of childbirth. But – does it have to be this way? Do women have to be terrified about birthing their babies? Does an expectation of pain need to be carried into childbirth? Or can women break through the dread of pain and have a natural and calm labour and childbirth experience?
What Is the Fear-Tension-Pain Cycle During Childbirth?
Dr. Grantly Dick-Read, a British obstetrician and a 20th Century pioneer of natural childbirth, coined the term “fear-tension-pain cycle”. He is the best-selling author of books like Childbirth Without Fear. Dr. Dick-Read argues that the key to freeing labouring women from pain is relaxation and education. He believes that pain experienced by labouring women is rooted in fear.
The “fear-tension-pain cycle” describes the root of fear from which tension is created and expected pain experienced.
This means that if a labouring woman is afraid of and expecting pain, her muscles will tense and the pain she expected will manifest itself, oftentimes even stronger than she had expected. Her very real pain will have her focus on fear again, creating an expectation for more pain, which causes her muscles to tense. The fear and tension produce or heighten pain.
What Is FOC (Fear of Childbirth)?
Recent literature defines Fear of Childbirth as intense negative expectations of giving birth. It may include fear of losing control, concerns related to the child’s well-being, doubts about one’s competency, and even a lack of trust in the medical staff supporting the birthing process.
FOC is deeply grounded in culture and context. In Western societies, childbirth and fear are tied together. We hear and see labour “horror stories” all over the media, and people will happily and willingly tell their personal unpleasant pregnancy and childbirth stories to family members, friends, and acquaintances as if there is a prize for the most terrifying tale.
FOC varies from one woman to another and manifests differently based on the individual.
How Can A Pregnant Woman Break Through Your Fear-Tension-Pain Cycle?
Dr. Dick-Read believes that relaxation and education is the way to break the fear-tension-pain cycle. This means providing pregnant women with detailed information on the physiology of pregnancy and on the stages of birth in order to eliminate or minimize unknown factors and to provide expecting parents with choices and a sense of empowerment.
The education component can include, along with the physiology of pregnancy and childbirth, information about nutrition, exercise, hygiene and infant care. Relaxation can be taught in various ways.
The most effective relaxation method I witness is a rapid relaxation, where the expecting mother learns to relax quickly and “on-demand” so she can shift her mind and muscles in an instant. This allows her to relax between contractions so she can rest, re-energize, and prepare for the next contraction.
Easing Labour During Childbirth Through Hypnosis for Childbirth
At HypnoMothering for Childbirth, we have integrated both aspects needed to reduce labour pain: education and relaxation.
The educational component of HypnoMothering for Childbirth supports the relaxation component and allows parents the freedom to make the right choices for them while listening to their body, emotions and feelings.
In the months prior to birth, expecting parents learn different types of relaxation methods to add to their toolbox. The expectant mother practices these techniques, conditioning her mind and body to relax instantly, while the labour support person learns how to help her relax faster and deeper.
For more information about easing labour pain during childbirth contact Miri Malkin @ Miri Malkin Hypnosis For Top Performance below.