How Fear Affects Labour
Fear is one of the strongest emotions we know, and possibly the most primitive. Every animal exhibits fear in some way. If it weren’t for fear creatures would not be able to survive. However fear without good reason can be a great hindrance to our lives and in our safer westernised societies people often suffer from inappropriate fears. This is the survival instinct gone awry.
When we experience stress or fear, messages are sent to receptors all over the body creating exaggerated and distorted reactions. These amplified messages then set off physiological and biochemical changes within the body.
The body is effectively being prepared for either fight or flight and hormones called catecholamines are produced in vast quantities. These hormones are adrenaline and nor adrenaline.
When fight or flight is not appropriate, as with a woman in labour, these hormones act to constrict the uterus and reduce its blood flow. The reason it does this is that the brain rightly assumes that the uterus is not a high priority for receiving oxygen in a flight or fight situation so it diverts to the major muscles of the arms and legs and to the lungs.
This is a instinctive defence mechanism that was not meant to be activated during labour. In labour o course the muscles and the baby need as much oxygen as possible. When the oxygen supply is reduced to the uterus by fear, labour stalls. This is often why when a labouring mother arrives at hospital the progress of labour stalls, she gets more frightened by the reality of it all and essentially seizes up.
When the labouring woman is fearful either consciously or subconsciously, she gets inwardly tense, labour is lengthened and pain is created or increased.
Endorphins, the body’s natural relaxants and pain-killers cannot work effectively when there is excessive adrenaline or noradrenaline in the body, so when fear is predominant we are unable to benefit from their analgesic effects.
Endorphins (nature's feel good hormones)
Scientists working on the effects of opiates on the body discovered endorphins. They found that opiates actually decrease the firing rate of neurones in the central nervous system. They found that endorphins are up to 200 times more potent than morphine and that they are produced naturally from the pituitary gland in the brain.
These suppress the synaptic activity which is responsible for sensing pain and they also create a tranquil, amnesiac state.
Hypno Birthing techniques of guided relaxation and imagery will show you how to utilise the full benefit of these wonderful natural pain killers thus overriding the catecholamines before they start. When your hormones are in balance and are allowed to work in the way that nature intended, childbirth can be a rewarding and positive experience.
Hypno Birthing classes teach you to release any fear and they build confidence.
Please go to the How to Book page to enrol onto a course and learn how experience the joy of a calm, relaxed, empowered birthing.