Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

"Endorphins are nature's opiates. When we expend a lot of physical effort, endorphin levels rise correspondingly, especially when we are warm enough, feeling loved and supported, and, above all, when we are not frightened. Endorphins are a blessing, because they actually block the reception of pain. Endorphins give us that feeling of pleasure that comes with a job well done or a work-in-progress."

"We need to always remember that mothers who are afraid tend to secrete the hormones that delay or inhibit birth. This is true of all mammals and is part of nature's design. Those who are not terrified are more likely to secrete in abundance the hormones that make labor and birth easier and less painful - sometimes even pleasurable."

"When avoidance of pain becomes the major emphasis of childbirth care, the paradoxical effect is that more women have to deal with pain after their babies are born." (Referring to surgical recovery, forceps, episiotomies, etc.)

And you have to try this! While standing or kneeling put one hand on the bottom of your tailbone and one hand on your pubic bone. Feel about how far apart your hands are, then keep them there while you lean back and then lean forward and notice the difference in how close & far apart your hands become. I knew leaning forward in labor could be helpful but I was stunned at the difference in my pelvis when I leaned forward.

Really liking this book, fascinating stuff about how our bodies relax and our sphincter muscles and the connection between relaxing your throat/mouth and your cervix/vaginal muscles. If you are feeling tense or if you feel like your privacy is being invaded then you'll have a totally different experience because your body is reacting to your stress! She talks about the connection between relaxing during sex & orgasm and relaxing so you can give birth and how our minds have such connection to our body's ability to let those things happen. If we aren't in a place we feel safe and comfortable and protected and private then our bodies aren't going to cooperate! Fascinating...

Referring to the incredibly low transfer, c-section and intervention rates:

Anyone with a scientific bent should find it fascinating that three midwifery practices in the world produced outcomes so similar. There are certain obvious common elements that the three practices share:

- careful psychological preparation during pregnancy
- births attended by midwives able to be constantly with the laboring woman
- obstetrical backup provided by physicians able to recognize the abilities of midwives and women
- a philosophy that women are beautifully and admirably designed to give birth

I agree, we are beautifully and admirably made. 🙂

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