Trust your body

Mental attitudes and emotions interfere with the ability to give birth far more than is generally understood.

It is important to keep in mind that our bodies must work pretty well, or there wouldn’t be so many humans on the planet.

Despite medical culture’s recognition of the placebo effect, medical theories about labor and birth generally take little notice of the connection between mind and body.

The midwifery model of care recognizes the oneness of mind and body. The midwifery model conceives of pregnancy and birth as inherently healthy processes and of each mother and baby as a unit. 

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Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

by Ina May Gaskin

Control your fear

We need to always remember that mothers who are afraid tend to secrete the hormones that delay or inhibit birth.

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.

Another interesting aspect of the pain question is that women’s perceptions of labor pain vary a great deal depending upon their country or culture of origin.

In other countries of similar wealth (the Netherlands and Japan are prime examples), most women do not expect to be given anesthesia for a normal physiological process. 

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Your body is not a lemon

Even if it has not been your habit throughout your life so far, learn to think positively about your body.

The pain of labor and birth has an entirely different message. It says: “Relax your pelvic muscles. Let go. Surrender. Go with the flow. Don’t fight this. It’s bigger than you.” This is far different from the message of “Protect yourself!” or “Run away!” that accompanies injury.

Pushing will take place without the mother requiring someone to shout at her when and how to do it. Don't force it!

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