Born To Be Safe and Sound
Giving birth is a breeze for indigenous peoples because they believe that it is a natural process and not a stressful event. Their women go into labour without any of the psychological stress that first world mothers experience. Consequently their brains induce not only the hormones that regulate the contraction of the womb and dilation of the cervix but also churn out a fair amount of endorphin – our own legal opiate that makes labour pains all the more bearable. An important neurotransmitter in the human brain, oxytocin increases the feeling of love, safety and belonging, easing up the strain of delivery. That is how it should be, anyway.
The stark reality is that mothers-to-be in the developed world are overloaded with contradictory information about childbirth that induce fear and anxiety. Stress hormones are secreted into the bloodstream, countering the effect of endorphin. Slow labour is often hastened with additional intravenous oxytocin in hospitals. It does the job but only peripherally – its overall effect is different from self-induced oxytocin.
When a labouring woman feels secure, her body will react the natural way: the hormone cocktail that her brain concocted will cut the pain immediately after the longest labour at the very moment she holds baby in her hands. There is no other way to experience such a strong feeling of belonging and maternal bond.
GOOD TO KNOW
● Prenatal care may heal the psychological trauma of a previous pregnancy and help prevent the baby blues. It is the best way to understand what is going on with the mother and the baby and how to overcome negative past experiences with childbirth. More than anything, a mother-to-be must be given the positive message that she is fully capable of giving birth and the baby has the ability to be born.
● There are many ways to enhance the experience of giving birth from aromatherapy through to suggestive communication, but most important of all is the human touch.
● Holistic birth does not exclude the father either: he is the provider of security for the mother and the newborn baby. Love and bonding between mother and father naturally increase the production of oxytocin.
“Medical professionals are trained to deal with medical situations. An obstetrician is there to tend to the complications of childbirth. The midwife, on the other hand, is helping a mother-to-be on the way to giving birth,” explains her vocation Eleonóra Kunszt, senior midwife at Dr. Rose Private Hospital. “In our hospital the medical team stays in the background, ready to step in should there be an emergency. It is only the midwife who is there for the whole time with the labouring mother, so she can be at ease, listening and responding to her own body. The prenatal classes are there to explain the whole process in detail, so when it comes to labour and delivery we talk little, only sharing the most important information. We rather make her feel secure and comfortable through touch, and stimulate her hormones with aromatherapy. Even if it’s your first child, we aim for preventing perineum tear; self-induced, deep relaxation is the natural way to give birth.”