Finding Your Voice
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From the wonderful book Birthing From Within we could give 100 excellent birth tips alone! This is one that has been useful for my clients and I hope yours as well. Here is an excerpt from the book:

A widely accepted (though disastrously misleading) notion is that all women should respond to labor pain in the same way; quietly. Ironically, this usually means behaving in a most unnatural way: breathing in controlled, stylized patterns; refraining from moaning or wailing; and lying still rather than writhing or rocking. Sounds which suggest the sexual nature of birth may subtly be shaped out of a woman's repertoire.

Living in the Southwest has influenced our childbirth classes. Picture this: Mothers sitting around in a circle on the floor, learning to labor-howl while a tape of howling coyotes fills the room. Later, fathers join the circle for co-chanting. Some start out a bit inhibited, but once they warm up, it isn't easy getting them to stop.

Along with deep, long moans or howls she simultaneously must be visualizing her cervix opening in her mind. I also suggest the women visualize their cervix softening and opening with each painful contraction, while chanting such things as, "Open like a flower, flower of life. Open like a flower, flower of love."

Other chants which are common, though less poetic, may be along the lines of "#$^%... &*$...%#$%^df?*t!" Remember, strong labour requires power and aggression (which releases oxytocin). A string of profanity for some women may reconnect them with their forceful core, and help nature take its course.

As you get closer to pushing, moaning or chanting gradually turn into guttural growling (at the peak of contractions). In labor, women are rarely aware of this. But when nurses or midwives hear it, they realize it is the early sound of pushing.

When a mother wants to keep the pain to a level she can manage without making noise, the Mind sends Body an urgent message: "Wait! Slow down!" Fear of pain, of losing control, or of being unladylike stimulates the release of adrenalin, which slows down labor. An example:

My sister was in good, strong labor and labor had been progressing well. Nearing the end of labor, she was about seven cms dilated... she began wailing and moaning through contractions, on her hands and knees, just like you showed us. Her nurse came in and said, "I'm sorry, but you're making the doctor nervous. Try to be quiet."

My sister managed to be quiet, but soon after her labor petered out. The birth changed directions. After labor slowed down, she was given pitocin, which led to an epidural. And we always wondered what happened.

For more on Finding Your Voice and other ideas, check out Birthing From Within Pam England and Rob Horowitz

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