I am constantly surprised by the reaction couples get when they decide to birth their baby at home. The mother’s I teach who choose to go down that route often tell me they experience a lot of negative, anxiety-inducing comments as a result of their decision, not just from friends or family who feel they are being irresponsible or naïve, but from birth professionals too. Sometimes we have to acknowledge that people don’t necessarily have all the facts and therefore their opinion has been shaped by their own experiences of birth, representations of birthing in the media, as well as a skewed misrepresentation of research surrounding the ‘safest’ place to bring our baby into the world.
Women who attend HypnoBirthing classes with me are taught with no bias towards a particular setting for birth, but I am always supportive of a couple who choose to birth at home so long as their pregnancy has been a healthy one and they themselves are healthy. I too chose to birth at home and experienced a labour that was pain-free, easy, quick and left me with a deep sense of my own innate power to be a mother. When we examine our natural hormonal blueprint for labour, it becomes clear why home birthing is certainly an option that should be considered. Dr Sarah Buckley explains why:
“Giving birth in ecstasy: this is our birthright and our body’s intent. Mother Nature in her wisdom, prescribes birthing hormones that take us outside(ec) our usual state (stasis), so that we can be transformed on every level as we enter motherhood.
This exquisite hormonal orchestration unfolds optimally when birth is undisturbed, enhancing safety for both mother and baby. Science is also increasingly discovering what we realise as mothers: that our way of birth affects us life-long, both mother and baby, and that an ecstatic birth – a birth that takes us beyond our Self – is the gift of a lifetime.
Four of our major hormonal systems are active during labour and birth. These produce, during labour and birth, peak levels of oxytocin, the hormone of love; endorphins, hormones of pleasure and transcendence; epinephrine and norepinephrine, hormones of excitement; and prolactin, hormone of tender mothering. These systems are common to all mammals and mainly originate in our mammalian or middle brain, also known as the limbic system.
For birth to proceed optimally, this part of the brain MUST take precedence over the neocortex, or rational brain. This shift can be helped by an atmosphere of quiet and privacy, with, for example, dim lighting and little conversation, and no expectation of rationality from the labouring woman. Under such conditions a woman will intuitively choose the movements, sounds, breathing, and positions that will birth her baby most easily. This is her genetic and hormonal blueprint.
All of these hormonal systems are adversely affected by current birth practices. Hospital environments and routines are not conducive to the shift in consciousness that giving birth naturally requires. A woman’s hormonal physiology is further disturbed by practices such as induction, the use of pain killers and epidurals, caesarean surgery, and separation of mother and baby after birth. “
If you would like to find out more about your options for birth, or you wish to join one of the upcoming HypnoBirthing Courses in Clevedon or Bristol, then do give Helen a call today on 07816 787294 or visit www.bloomandbirth.co.uk for more details.