Congratulations to Dr Denis Walsh, one of the UK’s most influential midwives, who spoke out saying that mother and child would benefit if the ‘epidural epidemic’ gave way to yoga, hypnosis and birthing pools.
The Guardian Observer reveals that Dr Denis Walsh, a senior midwife and associate professor in midwifery at Nottingham University, said that hospital maternity staff are too quick to offer an epidural injection or agree to a painkilling injection request from a mother in labor.
Dr Walsh insisted that labor pain is natural, healthy and temporary, but the current culture of celebrity has made pain relief for labor seem normal.
Unsurprisingly, his comments prompted a furious reaction from many quarters, but in my view this backlash only served to obsure his core messages.
Giving Birth is not a medical condition – it is a natural process.
We are designed for natural birth.
And yet the number of women having an epidural has nearly doubled, despite medical risks such as a prolonged first and second stage of labor, a heightened chance of the baby’s head being in the wrong place and lower rates of breastfeeding.
And crucially, Dr Walsh says – “in the west it has never been safer to have a baby, yet it appears that women have never been more frightened of the processes”.
In my experience, it is this fear which makes labor more painful than it needs to be – as fear causes tension which slows down the process of giving birth.
Because, in survival terms, your body (and ‘mother nature’) knows that giving birth in a ‘dangerous’ situation could be fatal to you and your baby. Fear is the alarm bell that warns the body of danger.
The thing is, your body doesn’t know you are frightened of experiencing labor pain – so a vicious circle of fear, pain and tension sets up. In other words, women experience more pain in labor than is necessary because we have been conditioned to expect it.
It doesn’t have to be like that – and whether you choose to learn birth relaxation and reduce labor pain with our Blissful Birth hypnobirthing book and MP3s, or you choose an alternative approach like HypnoBirthing or Yoga, you owe it to yourself to break that conditioning and have as relaxed a birth experience as possible for you and your baby.
Bye for now,