Reducing the need for Cesarean
Help the Hormones of Labor Flow
When a woman goes into labor her body releases specific hormones that elevate her level of comfort and inward concentration. When the laboring mom is stimulated in her mind her hormones shift. Her forward motion in labor and her comfort may be impeded. We want to avoid stimulating a mother's mind so that we avoid suppressing the hormones of labor. If stress enters the room, it may cause the mother to feel a surge of adrenaline. This may drown out her oxytocin and endorphins. It can be helpful for the laboring mom to practice tuning out sounds, conversation, other peoples negative energy, so that she can focus completely inward. She can think about her baby, focus on her baby's movements, focus on sending oxygen to her baby. The support team can help her find privacy, buffer her environment and manage the amount of people in the room. One job of the support team is to protect her labor environment, so that it can be calm, with dim lights, freedom of movement and low voices with minimal talking. This will help to maximize her comfort and the appropriate level of hormones in her body.
"...a lack of understanding of the physiological process is directly or indirectly at the root of skyrocketing cesarean rates......a laboring woman needs first to be protected from any sort of stimulation of her neocortex..."
-Michel Odent, The Cesarean
"Language, particularly rational language...when we communicate with language we process what we perceive with our neocortex...one of the main qualities of a birth attendant is her capacity to keep a low profile and remain silent, to avoid in particular asking precise questions."
"Bright light is another factor that stimulates the neocortex...dim light should in general facilitate the birth process."
When laboring, the hormones dilate the mother's pupils, so that bright light is actually painful and may cause the mother distress.
A feeling of being observed is another type of neocortical stimulation...privacy is a factor that facilitates the reduction of neocortical control."
Limiting participants in the birth process to those who understand the hormones of birth may help.
Any situation likely to trigger a release of hormones of the adrenaline family...a laboring woman first needs to feel secure."
Long intake procedures, confinement to the bed, strangers coming into the room without warning, and many other similar events may introduce stress.
Help her find Labor Land
The way we talk around a laboring mom can help her deepen her relaxation and thus build her hormones. Avoiding talking about extraneous topics, small talk and stressful conversations can all assist in creating labor hormones. Unless the words are for her benefit or her comfort, it is better to avoid speaking them. Protect her from stimulating conversation and questions whenever possible and support her in tuning out those around her. Let them know, in a soft slow voice, that she is in labor land or having a contraction and see if you can answer for her. If they must hear from her, if it is absolutely medically needed or unavoidable for any reason, try to minimize the back and forth, try to help them understand that she is focused inward to build her hormones. Keep the lights low. Place battery or real candles all around her birthing space, paying attention to the bathroom in particular. Help her have privacy. The bathroom is a wonderful place to escape where your body already knows how to relax and hormones can flow more freely. She can take a shower. She can sit on the toilet backwards with a pillow on the top of the toilet, so that you can massage, give counter pressure to her lower back, do the hip squeeze. Going to the bathroom is always a good idea and should be visited every 1-2 hours. The other thing to consider is that we need to hydrate and eat to give our body energy to make the receptor cells to replicate the hormone and keep production at it's peak. Give mom energy bars, yogurt, crackers, honey sticks and fluids, like coconut water or electrolyte water.
"The key for rediscovering the universal needs of women in labour is to interpret a phenomenon which is well known to certain mothers and midwives who have experienced undisturbed birth. It is the fact that when a woman is giving birth by herself, without any medication, there is a time when she has an obvious tendency to cut herself off from our world..."
-Michel Odent, The Cesarean