Birth Without Fear Method
Can there really be a ‘method’ for controlling fear in labour? YES there can.
With fear of childbirth rising, especially in these extraordinary times when so many things are unknown, women and their birth partners need a fail-safe strategy that will help them to detect and recognise fear and its associated physiological stress response, whilst also knowing how to move towards the feelings of trust and confidence during labour. You need a simple and accessible method that will help you to feel more in control, more empowered and more at one with the whole process.
It is in the emotion of trust, in faith in the process and in an understanding and acceptance of what needs to happen, where the woman’s innate birthing physiology is activated. How do we know this? Oxytocin, the body’ chosen birth hormone is triggered when you feel safe, trust and confidence. When you feel safe, this tells the body that birth can happen. You can let the baby down through the body and out. Oxytocin induces contractions, however is always activated in the emotion of security. Because we are supposed to give birth when we feel safe!
“Having had a traumatic experience with my first child due to reasons completely out of my control, I was keen to find a way to feel more in control and prepared this time around. I found out about ‘Birth without Fear’ and was lucky enough to be able to work with Emilie in the lead up to the birth.
So let’s break it down.
On one end of the spectrum we have the important survival mechanism, the Fight or Flight response, activated by the emotion fear and the triggering of the release of both adrenaline and cortisol; a hugely important stress response that has ensured our survival as a species throughout evolution. Our emotions are expressed through the body, so therefore the birth partner can learn to read your body language and detect stress and fear without you having to talk. As a rule, women do not want to talk in labour as this becomes a distraction. In a state of stress and fear, there are four physiological manifestations that can be identified just by looking and listening to the birthing woman:
1) Her breathing will change from soft and silent, to being forced and audible.
2) Her muscles will activate upwards, in the direction away from birth in order to keep the baby inside.
3) The sound of her voice will become high-pitched or a scream, as opposed to low-pitched and steady.
4) Her mind will lock in the ‘nocebo’ of the negative expectation effect, not only affecting her physiological responses but resulting in a negative birth experience and potential feelings of trauma.
Birth Without Fear Method, originating in Sweden where it is has been used by expectant parents and healthcare professionals for over 10 years, was developed as a preventative measure to reduce trauma while simultaneously ensuring the emotional safety of the birthing woman. By applying 4 simple and effective tools to counteract the manifestations of the body’s stress response system, your birth partner takes on the pivotal role in guiding you from fear to trust, in every contraction:
1) Breathing: Encouraging you to breathe softly and silently will create a sense of calm and reassurance, while maintaining adequate oxygen supply to the uterus.
2) Relaxation: Guiding your four Fight or Flight muscle stations (forehead; jaw; trapezius; buttocks and thighs) to become actively passive. This entails encouraging you to have the least amount of resistance to what ultimately needs to happen – the contraction. By helping you to work with your body and not against it, you and your birth partner facilitate the progress of labour and maximise the release of even more oxytocin, becoming an unbeatable team.
3) The Voice: To match the intensity of the contraction when the breathing tool is no longer adequate, the third tool equips you with the power to meet the pain without setting off a domino effect of tension throughout the body as a result of a high-pitched sound. The deep pitch not only gives power to the pushing muscles, but has a pain-relieving effect as it massages the entire pelvis as well as pushes out negative thoughts.
4) The Mind: The placebo effect of the word ‘Yes’ (or any positive word that resonates with the birthing woman) will release you from any negative cognitive spiral that you may have become inadvertently locked in. Not, “Yes, what a great time I am having”, but “Yes” to the birth, “Yes” to the baby.
This powerful and accessible method which focuses entirely on birthing physiology and what the body already has within it, is designed in such a way that by training the attending chosen birth partner to read your body language and thus steer you towards the emotion of safety and trust with the use of the 4 tools, will not only positively affect the progress of labour but ultimately, and most importantly, positively affect your whole emotional birthing experience.
Sessions are facilitated via Zoom by experienced midwife and UK Method Ambassador Emilie Wicks and also by founder Susanna Heli, doula, physiotherapist and author of Confident Birth (Pinter & Martin, 2012).
For me, the best thing about the birth without fear method is that Emilie deals with the realities of giving birth and gives practical strategies that can be used whether you are in the labour ward with an epidural, having a home birth, or anything in between. She doesn’t sugarcoat the realities of childbirth but empowers you with a toolkit of techniques that allow you to face it. For me, this meant that if the birth didn’t go ‘as planned’ (as they rarely do!) I was able to feel prepared for whatever came my way.”
4 hours – normal price £90. Classes running bi-monthly.
Currently 30% discount January/ February/ March.
Learn more, book a class and read our many testimonials here: www.birthbyheart.com