Written by Ann Bentley, Pain Free Labour
Hi, I am a midwife from Manchester England who is pashionate about giving women the best chance
possible for a lovely labour. I have experienced myself 4 labours, 2 very painful and 2 pain free. Society teaches women that labour will be painful, when they start to labour they become naturally anxious. It is this anxiety and the hormones secreted that cause changes in the body that lead to contraction pain.
The international best-seller Dean Koontz captured the essence of why we accept painful labours so easily when he wrote:
“Fear is the engine that drives the human animal. Humanity sees the world as a place of uncountable threats, and so the world becomes what humanity imagines it to be.”
In our dark dank past women were exploited. No surprise there then. They were not even allowed an education so that they could say “Hey, stop exploiting me you patriarchal society you”. We have had to fight tooth and nail for our relative freedom. The only battle that has yet to be won in the civilised world is childbirth.
Fear of childbirth has been instilled in us for hundreds of years. Doctors have made money out of us by keeping us in fear so that their services are needed to provide a medical model of care to help us birth. Early midwives were burned as witches so that women would turn to the medics in their time of need.
Modern health care follows blindly the believe in painful labours as the norm. There has been no research that I know of to support this belief. Within the UK we pride ourselves on offering evidence based practice and yet there is no evidence that uterine smooth muscle is designed to cause the sensation of pain when contracting normally. Yet we continue to believe. “The world becomes what humanity imagines it to be.”
Perhaps women want painful labours. Perhaps fear is the engine that drives the human animal. Perhaps we only feel comfortable when something we believe in comes true. Any other outcome would be too hard to accept, too big a paradigm shift for us to relate to.
Well tough. Get with the plan. Pain Free Labour has begun to seep into our belief system concerning childbirth. Midwifery led birthing centers are springing up all over the UK. Women are having pain free labours during the first stage when taught how to approach labour. Relaxation techniques are being learnt in parentcraft sessions to keep women from entering the stress/pain cycle often seen in labour.
We are being allowed to learn the truth about labour now in the UK only because the strain on the NHS from medicalised care has become too much. A calm pain free labouring woman in a pool is cheap compared to a theatre full of expensive equipment and staff. The caesarian section rate has reached an all time high. We have lost faith in our innate ability to labour naturally.
If I had not experienced this phenomena of pain free labour personally then I may well have been one of the supporters of offering elective caesarian sections for maternal choice. As a midwife I have helped countless women to have a pain free labour. As an author, I have explained in detail why uterine smooth muscle was never designed to cause the sensation of pain during a normal contraction.
So, who will join me in supporting the massive shift that we need in our belief system that will enable women to labour as nature intended; with medical support on stand by if needed? Who will be brave enough to swim against the tide and face the wrath of humanity when one of their “uncountable threats” is removed leaving them uncertain and afraid? Who will take a leap of faith in order to free women from the last of societies manacles holding us down? Who, maybe you?
|Ann and Mark after a pain-free labour|
Midwife from Manchester trying to change the way women approach labour today. My first labour was so horrid that I set out to find a better way to labour before I had my second. My second was wonderful and the first stage was pain free. A midwife from hell made my third very painful as I was not allowed to sit up to labour. My fourth was a home birth and once again pain free. If I can do it then anyone can. Simply follow the advice in my blog or from my books on Amazon (Pain Free Labour) and you too can discover the secret that the medics have kept from us for the past three hundred years. The first stage of labour was never designed to cause the sensation of pain.