Fear, tension, pain.

It’s completely normal and natural when you think about birth, to think of the word pain. It’s a product of our modern society, of our western culture. It’s what we see the portrayals of labour and birth in the books, films, newspapers, tv dramas and soap operas we have seen through the whole of our lives.

Grantly Dick-Read (26 January 1890 – 11 June 1959) was a British obstetrician and a leading advocate of natural childbirth, first described the “fear, tension, pain” cycle in the early 1920s.

Fear – it’s normal to feel fearful about birth (our culture sadly assumes this). But with strong birth education and by attending a complete and unbiased birth preparation course (I can help you with that), and building your knowledge you can come to understand that birth does not have to be painful. Labour and birth are not scary, if you understand what is happening in your body and why.

Tension – fear leads to tension and tightness in your whole body. A tense body means that your contractions can feel way more painful.

Pain – understanding the amazing process of birth, how your body was designed so brilliantly to cope, and learning brilliant hypnobirthing comfort measures to help with discomfort, can hugely help you cope and approach birth confidently and calmly. Without fear, and actually look forward with excitement!

Why do some women experience pain?

When we experience fear, our body’s response is to release adrenaline and to tense our muscles in preparation for a ‘fight or flight’ reaction. This is an automatic, physical response to fear from our brain, that we can’t control. It’s a primitive mammalian response to fear, helping to protect us from the unknown, it’s a survival instinct.

The problem is that when our muscles are tense when we are trying to use them, we often experience pain. So as the uterus is made up of layers of muscle, and the process of labour is those muscles contracting and relaxing to open the cervix (hence the word ‘contractions’ you may heave heard) if you have physical tension in your body (because you are fearful) those muscles do not work as well or as efficiently – and cause feelings of pain. Then this feeling of pain generates more fear (“oh no I knew it would be painful, how will I cope for the rest of labour” -cue even more fear), and our body becomes increasingly tense as a result, which causes….yes you’ve guessed it – more pain. This is called the Fear-Tension-Pain cycle.

Breaking the cycle.

So how can you break the fear-tension-pain cycle? Well, it’s actually quite simple, if you know how. This cycle is what hypnobirthing was built on working against. And that know-how comes through the birth education and techniques I will teach you of hypnobirthing.

If we can release all that fear, anxiety and stress about birth, then we are far less likely to experience pain in labour (or at least it will be far less strong). So with on my hypnobirthing and birth preparation courses we use simple to learn yet brilliant techniques rooted in hypnotherapy (the science of the mind and words) to release fear, and we learn the skills we need to put our body and mind into a totally relaxed state. This benefits us both in labour and in pregnancy too. It stops you spending your pregnancy worry about labour and birth.

When you remove fear from the cycle, then your mind has no need to worry and your body has no need to produce stress hormones and to tense the muscles, and so no reason to interpret sensations as pain. By letting our muscles relax, we also make it much easier for our body to do what it’s designed to do and birth our baby. And labour can take less time, as well as being more comfortable and less painful – it’s all good!

To book a course or for more information please feel free to contact me at hello@thepositivebirthgroup.com.

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