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Labor Pain – Part II

by Haley Macklin

Pain in labour and childbirth is not a ‘bad’ thing requiring fixing or flat out avoidance. On the contrary, it is the pain of labour that helps contract the uterus and open a mother ready to bring her child into the world. This collection of sensations should be encouraged because it is these sensations that help to welcome new life. And without the sensations of birth, none of us would be here. The pain in childbirth has been around for as long as childbirth itself; it is natural, safe and completely normal to have this experience. So, instead of trying to change or remove the pain, perhaps we need to change us; a change in our beliefs and expectations of birth, from a place of fear of pain to one of acceptance and even welcoming any experience during labour, would allow birth to proceed exactly as its meant to. It may also reduce the rates of intervention we are seeing across the world – namely, forceps, vacuum extraction and cesarean section – and the risks associated with these medical interventions (remember – some of these risks live on in the lives of mothers for years after birth). Mothers deserve the very best in their care during pregnancy and birth, and I believe strongly that one of the best ways we as carers can support women is to inform them of the truth around birth. And that truth is this;

 

Birth and all that comes with it is simply an organic unfolding of a event that has endured since time began. In any moment during labour and birth when the pain feels too big or too strong, just remember, your body was made to endure this power, and you have this and even more power within you. It is nothing compared to the joy you will experience when you hold your baby for the first time, and the love that will come flooding into your life. 

 

References:

Alehagen, S., Wijma, B., Lundberg, U. (2005). Fear, pain and stress hormones during childbirth. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics Gynaecology, 26(3), p153-165

Beigi, N., Broumandfar, K., Bahadoran, P., Abedi, H. (2010). Women’s experience of pain during childbirth. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research. 15(2): 77 – 82.

Buckley, S. (2009). Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering. Celestial Arts. Brisbane.

Coad, J & Dunstall, M. (2001). Anatomy and Physiology for Midwives, C.V Mosby

Gaskin, I. (2003). Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. Bantam Books Trade Paperbacks. New York.

Jansen, L., Gibson, M., Bowles, B., Leach, J. (2013). First Do No Harm: Interventions

During Childbirth. Journal of Perinatal Education. 22(2): 83 – 92.

Van der Gucht, N., Lewis, K. (2015). Women’s experiences of coping with pain during childbirth: A critical review of qualitative research. Midwifery Journal, 31(3), p341-394.