Fear – Labor’s Foe

Excerpts from The Birth Book written by William Sears, M.D. & Martha Sears, R.N.

–  “Birth is surrounded with mystery, and people fear what they don’t understand.  Women who know more about birth fear it less.”

–   “The Fear-Tension-Pain Cycle – by breaking this cycle at any one of several points, women can lessen or avoid the pain of childbirth.  Learning how their bodies work in labor, why they feel the way they do, and working with, rather than against, their bodies reduces the tension in muscles and the mind produced fear, and thus lessens the pain.”

–  “Fear upsets the balance of birth hormones, allowing the labor-inhibiting hormones to overtake the labor-enhancing hormones, resulting in increased pain and length of labor.  The surge of stress hormones is the fight-or-flight mechanism seen in humans and also witnessed in the animal kingdom.  When confronted with danger, animals use this fear reflex to stop labor, allowing them time to move to a safer birth place.”

–  “Remember, pain is often a body’s signal that something is not working right and that a change is needed.  Pain is also produced when muscles are working unnaturally.  The mother perceives this pain as abnormal (which it is) and panics something is going wrong, which increases the effects of fear and the fear-tension-pain cycle intensifies.”

–  “The more informed you are, the less you fear.  While there are no guarantees that you will go through labor with no surprises, the more you prepare for and understand what will happen and what you can do about it, the less afraid of birth you will be.”

–  “The odds of avoiding a cesarean or episiotomy are much in your favor (at least 90 percent) if you are prepared to speak up for yourself.”

–  “To be less fearful of the future, work on healing the past.”

–  “Fear is contagious.  During pregnancy and labor surround yourself with people who do not project fear.  You don’t need your mother telling you how awful childbirth was for her.”

–  “By knowing yourself and knowing your body you will have less to be afraid of at birth.  Women who fear tend to look toward the “strong ones” around them to “fix it” for them, without any guarantee that the fix will suit them.  We believe that an informed woman fears less, and a mother who participates in her labor and in the decisions accompanying it has less pain and a more satisfying birth experience.”

~ by cmb0414 on August 2, 2010.

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