All childbirth education classes have one goal in common and that is to educate pregnant women so as to remove their fear and to enable them to have better birthing experiences. The most popular one right now is hypnobirthing. Tracy Donegan, a hypnobirthing specialist, wrote in Midwifery Today's summer issue, 2006, that hypnosis is like running a virus scan in your subconscious mind. The subconscious mind holds both good and bad programs and the purpose of hypnosis before and during childbirth is to change those programs that are negative into positive.
Tracy writes that the goal of hypnosis isn't a pain free birth, but rather to become free of fear, which in turn leads to unnecessary pain. However, she acknowledges that with hypnobirthing the success rate is 70%, which leaves another 30% resorting to drugs. That is a rather high percentage of women that hypnosis doesn't work for.
Programs in our subconscious that need to be upgraded will be done so by knowledge and education. Knowledge of how the body works during labor and birth, such as the different stages of labor as they are in real life is what will empower a woman to keep going without an epidural. Knowledge of how she ought to work with her body, instead of just going into a trance and ignoring her body is what will get her through labor drug free.
There is a recent case of a woman in labor here in Las Vegas, giving birth at home, who wanted to push at 9 centimeters, the urge being very strong. But, her midwife told her that she was to ignore this sensation and just let her body do all the work, that her uterus was capable of pushing the baby out without any effort on her part. The mother, although it was very difficult, resisted the urge to push until it went completely away. She gave birth almost 9 hours later.
IN THE MOST IMAGINATIVE PART OF MY MIND, I CANNOT FATHOM HOW THIS MAKES ANY SENSE WHATSOEVER!
She would have given birth 9 hours earlier if she had listened to her body. But, her midwife was into hypnobirthing, as so many midwives are today, and she completely ignored this woman's urge to bear down. And, she convinced this woman to ignore her own urges. IS THIS TRUSTING BIRTH OR HER BODY?
The contact or pressure on the cervix of a well fitting head or butt results in the transmission of a stimulus from the nerve endings in the cervix. These stimulative impulses result in stronger contractions of the muscle fibers in the upper uterine segment. The stress to which the pelvic floor is subjected may be very great at this time and should this stage be unduly prolonged, the fascia supporting the bladder may become over stretched and later form a cystocele. When the head is on the perineum too long, the excessive strain to which this structure is subjected will give rise to a lax, sagging pelvic floor that will give inadequate support to the pelvic organs.
Not only that, but in the several cases I have heard such stories about, the women in subsequent pregnancies ended up with incompetent cervixes and threatened, or gave birth, prematurely to their next children, including the woman mentioned above.
The cervix cannot withstand the strain of being overstretched any more than the perineum or any other body structure can if the overstretching is unduly prolonged. The body knows what it is doing. Why can't we just trust in that fact?
An extreme case of waiting for the mother's body to just push the baby out on its own happened a couple of years ago in Las Vegas, also. The mother was dilated to 8 centimeters at the end of the first 12 hours of labor, a normal labor time for a first time mother. She was in a water birth tub. As absolutely bizarre as this case is, it is true, never-the-less. The mother's contractions stopped for a whole day because she was also taught that pushing is a no-no, regardless of the urge. Well, I can tell you this, if the body gets tired because you are unwilling to help, it will just stop contracting.
She was in labor for 5 days. FIVE DAYS? Her baby should have been born within the first 24 hours at the most, 12 hours if she had listened to the promptings of her body and gotten out of the birth tub and just pushed her baby out. The sad ending to this story is that her baby died from acidosis. Acidosis is the result of the inadequate oxygenation of vital organs such as can occur, among other things, in skeletal muscle overuse after heavy exercise, which increases the acidity of the blood. This baby, in other words, was exhausted.