In labor, as in all of life, knowledge is power! Understanding what your body is doing during labor can build your confidence in the safety of labor and in your ability to give birth. How our bodies give birth has evolved over millions of years as a way to preserve the human species. Birth is not inherently dangerous; rather it is designed by nature to make sure that you and your baby are both safe before, during and after your birth.
This, however, does not mean that vigilance is not in order. The close attention of your midwife to you and your baby’s health and well-being during all stages of labor and birth is of paramount importance. However, much of the fear we have adopted about giving birth is largely caused by seeing the consequences of too many ways in which we interfere in the natural process.
In other words, by intervening and interrupting labor and birth, we have too often caused the very complications and poor outcomes we now fear. The good news is that when we support, promote and protect the natural labor process, your safety is enhanced. Your body actually knows just what to do to make sure that your labor goes well and that you and your baby are safe.
The best-kept secret today is that our bodies know exactly how to make the magical hormones of birth, including oxytocin, endorphins, catecholamines and prolactin, and use them to your advantage. These chemical messengers, made by your body:
- Prepare you and your baby for birth
- Start labor just when you and your baby are ready
- Cause rhythmic, steady and effective contractions that open your cervix
- Get your baby ready to be born and to make the changes she or he needs to live outside of your body
- Calm and soothe you and help ease pain and stress
- Naturally cause you to push your baby out when the time is right
- Protect your baby while he or she is being born
- Protect you from bleeding too much
- Calm your baby and help her or him begin to breathe
- Cause you to produce and let down your milk
- Motivate your baby to naturally seek out your breast and nurse
- Trigger a sense of pride in yourself and confidence in yourself as a mother
- And, most splendidly of all, cause you and your baby to fall in madly love with each other!
If interfering in labor can disrupt the flow of your hormones and all they do for you and your baby, the kind of care that supports the natural unfolding of labor and birth can make sure that you and your baby benefit from what your body knows how to do best. At the Monadnock Birth Center our midwives provide care that protects the natural power of labor to help keep you and your baby healthy, happy and safe.