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Pain is not a word we use in hypnobirthing, it is not a word I like using as it has such negative imagery associated with it, think of the word ‘childbirth’ and what is the first word which springs to mind, yes, pain in a large amount of cases.
So, I want to explain why birth does not have to be the pain, feared about experience which pregnant women feel they have to endure to meet their beautiful baby at the end of it. Sounds unrealistic? Read on.
So in any situation in every day life, when you are are fearful or anxious about something, you tense. Whether that’s because you are worried about a presentation you are about to be given at work, somebody asks your opinion unexpectedly and every pair of eyes focuses on you or you are driving somewhere new for the first time and you haven’t got a map. When you are in ‘anxious mode’ your brain thinks something is wrong, and steps in to keep you safe. This is the negative part of your brain which can only react in a negative way, anticipating something has gone wrong, is wrong or will go wrong and you need to respond immediately for your survival.
In the context of birth, if you are fearful or anxious of what is to come, maybe from previous experience or because people have told you that birth is something to be anxious and concerned about, it is likely that when you feel that first contraction, you will tense. If you tense and tighten that beautiful, uterine muscle which is there to birth your baby, it more likely to feel uncomfortable, and therefore painful which means you become more fearful and anxious of the next contraction as the last one hurt. Your brain is then reinforcing these fearful feelings and painful experience and, in simplistic terms, it becomes a self perpetuating cycle, your brain associating every contraction with pain.
The guided relaxation and breathing techniques taught during a hypnobirthing course are designed to avoid this fear and anxiety, the more relaxed and positive you feel about your labour and birth experience, the less tension you will hold in your body and negativity in your mind.
Once you appreciate how fear and tension impacts on pain during childbirth, and how hypnobirthing can support you to avoid that. The tools provided during a hypnobirthing course become all the more relevant and the need to practice and prepare all the more important.