We all suffer from stages and days of stress. It’s part of the world we live in and how we live our lives. However, becoming aware of how and when we are stressed and then knowing how to deal with the stress to bring our minds and bodies back to a calm and equalized state is an important skill to withhold.
If we are in the ‘fight, flight or freeze’ response during pregnancy and Labor we have adrenaline running through our system instead of endorphins and oxytocin- the main contributors to a calm, uncomplicated and possible pain free birth.
We have all faced something major in our lives that has the feelings of fear attached to it, and this is then built in to a very stressful situation… Just to name a few situations…
- pregnancy and labour
- a job interview
- getting married
- trying to fall pregnant
- changing jobs
- moving or building a house
- needing to leave a relationship
So first let’s look at the word ‘Fear’… Fear is a feeling induced by perceived danger or threat, which causes a change in metabolic and organ functions and ultimately a change in behavior, such as fleeing, hiding, or freezing from perceived traumatic events. The fear response arises from the perception of danger leading to confrontation with or escape from/avoiding the threat (also known as the fight-or-flight response), which in extreme cases of fear (horror and terror) can be a freeze response or paralysis.
Now let’s look at ‘Stress’… Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you sense danger—whether it’s real or imagined—the body’s defenses kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” reaction, or the stress response.
So as you can see they are a lot a like but now let’s look at how being in this state of mind can affect our pregnancy and birth (labour)…
- Not allowing ourselves the chance to be in-tune with our bodies and growing babies.
- Can effect the growth of your child physically, mentally and emotionally, which can also have long term effects.
- Creates a more challenging environment for you and your partner and family.
- Causes an increase in blood pressure which may lead to other interventions for an early labour.
- Causing distress to the unborn baby and mother.
- Blood flow to the uterus decreases and therefore surges can be more painful.
- Causing surges to stop, slow, to have erratic pattern, and lengthen the labor.
- Creating a sense of panic and increasing pain for the mother.
- Emotions of fear, anxiety, helplessness and out of control.
- Leading providers to respond to theses problems with caesareans and other interventions.
What steps can be taken to become aware of our fear and stress and help let it go and Relax?
- During your pregnancy you can practice, breathing techniques, yoga, sound, meditation and restorative Yoga to help prepare and build strength for calm, pain free labor and birth.
- These practices all work on placing the Parasympathetic nervous system (PNS)- the relaxation response.
- You are building oxytocin and endorphins so that when labor arrives you have a store, plus the huge influx that can come with labor too.
- Make sure you are comfortable in your environment and with the people who are helping you through your labor. Stay within and connected to your breath.
Life is stressful… its only natural. But how much stress is created and how we manage our stress will depend on how much fear you create. And sometimes we are so overwhelmed by the amount of fear a situation is creating that we don’t realise we are creating it, other than it becoming more stressful. So how do we ‘overcome this fear and stress’? How do we ‘let it go‘? First, we must ‘regonise it‘. Second, ‘write it down‘, recognise the fear you have created and how you are going to overcome it… Below is a great tool (chart) that can be used to help regonise fear, overcome it and therefore create less stress…
|Thoughts/ Belief to Release||Belief type||New Belief/ How to Overcome it|
Thought/Belief– tearing of perineum and abdominals.
Belief type – Fear, no control.
New Belief – Practice the tools and exercises I have been given, so I can soften and open these areas (Yoga, Perineum massage, breathing the baby out, no abdominal exercises).
If you are interested I run a ‘Balance Birthing Workshop’ which includes Pregnancy Support and Labour Preparations. Check out the following link http://awomanswellness.com/balanced-birthing-workshop/
In Health & Happiness.