Fear, Pain and Rhythm in Labour and Birth.

Labour is terrible and the most pain ever…

This is the most common myth spread about birth in our society. Yet there are many people having positive experiences of birth, who say well yes it’s a really intense experience but I’d do it again. So what’s going on? 

What if we stopped scaring people?

There’s plenty of evidence that fear increases pain. And plenty of evidence that being able to relax will help labour go as smoothly as it can. One side of this is knowledge and informed consent when it comes to all the choices available during pregnancy, labour and birth. The other side is you and your birth partner learning to work with the rhythm of your labour in a way that’s good for you.

One simple way to say no to fear in labour and birth. Find your rhythm. Image of two pregnant people's tummies and hands.

The rhythm of life.

Labour follows a pattern. There are stages of labour which follow on from each other, sometimes slowly sometimes rapidly. Each contraction of your uterus comes and goes. The sensation of that contraction starts and builds and peaks and then wears off.  There’s a time between contractions for relaxing and enjoying the amazing high that comes with the build up of oxytocin in your system.

But what if I feel overwhelmed by labour?

You will find ways to work with the rhythm of your contractions. Maybe you will call them waves and remind yourself they come and go. Perhaps you will visualise those crashing waves. For some people, a rhythmic movement will be more helpful. Other people find counting or vocalising will keep their rhythm going.

But every now and then in labour, everything steps up to the next level. That’s when it’s easy to lose your focus and start to feel out of control. This is when you will see the value of training your birth partner to be the guardian of your rhythm. When you’re writing your birth plan with your birth partner write a list of the comfort measures you want to try during labour. Then make them responsible for reminding you to try new things when one thing isn’t working anymore.

What next?

If you’re looking for ideas on how to work with your contractions and keep your rhythm in labour read our post on that and our post about hynobirthing.

Thinking you want to feel positive while planning for labour and maybe find something to repeat to yourself to keep your rhythm through contractions? Then download and print out our positive affirmations.

If you’re thinking things aren’t always that simple and remembering your labour or birth that makes you feel sad have a read of our blog on recovering from negative experiences.

Combat the people who fill you with fear by saying things like it’s the worst pain ever with people who tell their positive birth stories. Check out the Positive Birth Movement and Tell Me a Good Birth Story for example.