with susanne grant
Exactly what happens to the body during labour? Do you know why staying calm can help a mother to enjoy an easier (even pain-free) birth with the Hypnobirthing Techniques?
How does uterus work?
The uterus is an amazing organ. As Ina May Gaskin (internationally known midwife) says:
“There is no other organ quite like the uterus. If men had such an organ they would brag about it. So should we”.
The uterus is responsible for the growth and birth of the baby, and is made of layers of muscle tissue. During pregnancy, the horizontal layer (highly concentrated at the bottom) keeps the baby in, and is normally referred to as the ‘cervix’. The vertical muscle layer (highly concentrated at the top) meanwhile, is relaxed, making it possible for the baby to grow throughout gestation.
During labour, these two functions switch, thanks to the release of the hormone oxytocin. This means that the vertical layers will start drawing upwards in order for the cervix to thin and open, so the baby can move down the birth path.
If a mother is tense the body will fight labour
If a mum is tense or scared during labour, her body will try to prevent the baby from being born. She may experience tension or pain as her body keeps trying to pull the muscles up, while the horizontal muscles are staying tight. On the other hand, when she is feeling comfortable and relaxed, the sets of muscles will work together brilliantly like a wave, making birth more comfortable and smooth.
If she is scared of birth (or becoming a mother or anything else) or feels tense, she can trigger the release of adrenaline during labour. Adrenaline is a powerful hormone that helps our body respond to emergency situations. It increases the heart and breathing rate, and triggers the freeze-flight-fight response. In labour adrenaline is not a mum’s best friend, as it the resulting physical response will divert blood away from the uterus to the arms and legs (so she can run away or fight the upcoming ‘danger’). This is what causes labour pains.
Who is Susanne?
Susanne is an international Hypnobirthing & Healing coach who specialises in (birth) trauma, PTSD & body issues. She coaches women around the world to heal sexual abuse & trauma as well as prior traumatic births. While pregnant, Susanne’s experience of child abuse put her on a different road of care from her team of midwives. This gave her a new mission in life helping women heal wounds from the past. Having been diagnosed with PTSD at 17, she knows firsthand how challenging this can be. [Read more]