Today’s guest post is about labour, a topic that fills newly pregnant mums with dread and fear.  Nina Weisfeld is writing about how labour doesn’t have to be as scary as we think! I wish I would have known about hynobirthing before having my three – could have helped with some of the hysterics!

Firstly, I’d like to start my blog post with a massive thank you to Bundle-O-Joy for inviting me as their guest this month.  My name is Nina Weisfeld and I run a company called Lavender Fields which specialises in Hypnotherapy, Counselling and HypnoBirthing®, based in NW London.  Because of the HypnoBirthing® and the existing baby boom in the UK, I spend a lot of my time working with pregnant women, and it is a statement from one of my current clients that is the inspiration for this blog.

When she first came to see me she said “I just want to give birth without the drama, you know”?  And yes I do know what she means.  I’m not sure why, but there is a slightly menacing tradition amongst mums to shock and terrify mums-to-be with their gory and disturbing tales of childbirth.  They seem to take great care in describing (in excruciating detail) their dramatic and mostly traumatic experiences bringing their child into the world.  It makes me so sad to think that these women have had such terrible experiences of childbirth, scarring them for life, thus overshadowing what should be and could be one of the most exciting and thrilling moments in a woman’s life.  No one’s saying labour is easy – the literal meaning of the word is hard work and that is exactly what giving birth is: HARD WORK.  However, it doesn’t have to be frightening or distressing and in fact the more distraught and panicked you get, the worse your labour may be.   A woman is perfectly designed for natural childbirth and when enlightened with the knowledge that their body and their baby can and will perform pretty much on auto-pilot when left to it, childbirth becomes a less daunting and more positive prospect for mums-to-be. 

Labour is also a really vulnerable time for women.  It is amazing how so much can affect the outcome of your labour, especially if you have been harbouring any anxious thoughts throughout your pregnancy.  These can be anything from becoming a parent, worrying about the financial pressures of bringing up a family or maybe just being nervous about how the dynamic will change with your partner.  These feelings, if left to linger in your consciousness, are susceptible to rearing their ugly head during your labour, and can often bring it to a screeching halt.  An Obstetrician in the early 1930s (Dr Grantly Dick-Read, author of the world renowned book Childbirth without Fear) compares labouring women to labouring animals, in that if the animal is disturbed or feeling threatened they stop the labour until they are feeling safe again.  This is exactly the same for humans: if a woman is feeling threatened and anxious her body will just shut down.  This is then detrimental to a successful, natural birth and will more than likely result in a longer, more painful labour and will frequently require medical intervention of some description.

So although none of us can predict what kind of labour we will go through and accept that no two labours are the same, there is a lot we can do to make it as comfortable and relaxed as possible.  

This in turn will create not only a better experience for the mum, but also for the little one who’s making their way out for their first day in the big world. Isn’t that the ultimate goal?

Nina Weisfield 

Nina runs Lavender Fields, a practice that offers HypnoBirthing® in order to decrease the fear associated with having a baby, by getting mum to relax and instinctively bring baby into the world.