Or the absence of it. When it comes down to it, childbirth is all about fear. If you are afraid then you are tense and feel more pain. If you are calm, relaxed and free of fear, you can avoid pain. There is such thing as pain-free childbirth, and I believe it's achieved through childbirth that is free of fear.
Dr. Grantly Dick-Read wrote a book in the 1930's entitled Childbirth Without Fear, in which he wrote about his discovery of the Fear-Tension-Pain Syndrome. In his obstetric practice spanning over 20 years, he observed countless births that were calm, peaceful and free of pain or fear. Dr. Dick-Read successfully educated and prepared expectant mothers and helped them achieve a beautiful natural birth experience. In his experience, Dr. Dick-Read found that 95% of women were able to achieve this. His work has inspired many of our modern childbirth methods including, but not limited to, Hypnobirthing and Hypnobabies, both of which offer the education to prepare oneself for and experience a positive, peaceful birthing experience with little or no medical intervention. I have links on the right side of this page to each of these childbirth methods if you want to learn more about them.
The Beginning of Motherhood blog has two recent posts that address the role of fear in the birth process. One of the posts lists the steps to dispel fear, and I want to list them here because I think it's important:
1. Be aware of your body
2. Be in the present moment
3. Embrace silence through meditation
4. Relinquish the need for external approval
5. Get rid of negative emotions
6. Have total knowledge of yourself
7. Don't judge yourself and others
8. Remove toxins from your body and your environments
The blog author promises to post more about these steps later, and I look forward to seeing what she has to say on the matter.