Birthing Without Fear

What if? Breech, big baby and high levels of stress during pregnancy

What if? Breech, big baby and high levels of stress during pregnancyExpecting couples may have questions and concerns on their mind, which can be different for each individual. The following article lists 3 of the most common questions. It also addresses how to apply natural approaches to resolving common birth complications in order to reduce unnecessary medical interventions. Should serious complications require the use of medications or interventions, then this article also highlights how to approach them fearlessly while maintaining a positive attitude. Being aware of the following information will help you ensure that you will not be disappointed about your birth experience, and thus maintain a nurturing environment for your baby to emerge into.

What if the baby is in breech position right at the end of the pregnancy?

Right before birth, most babies are in a head-down position in the mother’s uterus, which is why most babies are born head first. Sometimes the baby is in a bottom-first (or feet-first) position. When a baby is in that position before birth, it’s called a breech birth. Many babies are breech early in pregnancy, but most of them turn to the headfirst position near the end of the pregnancy.

The most important thing to remember is that there are many non-invasive ways to encourage babies to turn around, and that worrying is counter productive. Often there are concerns and fears that the mother is holding surrounding the birth, that are preventing the baby from turning. Once these limiting beliefs have been overcome through (i.e.) hypnotherapeutic guided processes (like the one in track 9 of the Birthing Without Fear audio programme), the baby is able to move to the vertex position. Additionally, while in a cool, calm & collected state, the mother can visualize her baby shifting and assuming the optimal position for birthing, as a way of encouraging her baby to do so.

A researcher at the University of Vermont, USA, used hypnosis with 100 pregnant women whose babies were in the breech position between the 37th and 40th week of pregancy. The women received hypnosis with suggestions for general relaxation and release of fear and anxiety. While under hypnosis, the women were also asked why their baby was in the breech position. 81% of the babies in the hypnosis group moved to the vertex position, compared with 48% of the control group. Hypnosis was most effective for the women motivated to use the technique. Aside from the visualization involved, the deep relaxation of hypnosis can help your abdomen to relax enough to allow the baby to turn if it wants to. It is a very gentle and comfortable way for both mother and baby, compared to some of the medical procedures associated with turning breech babies, which are not necessarily safe.

Make sure that you take the time to become informed of all of your non-invasive options before you allow your caregivers to start suggesting medical procedures. After all, breech is just another variation of normal.

What if my baby is big?

Is it really a big baby?

One of the problems with having a ‘suspected’ large baby is that the suspicions of ultrasound operators and midwives may not be accurate.

Your body and your baby are designed perfectly to work together in birth, however, often many mothers are being led to believe that their babies are ‘big’, and may need intervention or c-section early to ensure that their baby is safe.

Babies weighing more than 4.5kg at birth are considered much larger than average and birthing a baby with that weight can often be more challenging. However, the more relaxed you can be during birth, the more efficiently your body can work and generally knows exactly how to birth your baby, no matter the size.

The female pelvis is PERFECTLY designed for birth… matter the size of the baby… is designed to open up to make more space for the baby.

But when a women reduces her pelvic capacity, by being immobile on a bed, perhaps due to an induction – for a “big baby” or an epidural, because of the pain caused by the induction, or the fear caused by the constant “big baby” conversations everything gets a lot harder. Consider what simply hearing: “Your baby is getting to big”, does to a moms thought process? We are suggestible, especially at times when a person who has “authority” says something. How many moms are intimidated out of birthing their babies the way their body knows how to, because that seed of doubt is planted by their care provider.

If a woman enters labour free from fear and anxiety, oxytocin (the hormone of labour) will be free to flow, her uterus will contract efficiently, endorphins (natural morphine like pain relievers released during labour) will flood her body, adrenaline will be kept to a minimum ensuring that her uterus is well oxygenated and making her as comfortable as possible.

If a woman is left to birth actively, free from monitors keeping her confined to the bed, free from drips in her hands and free from an epidural leaving her confined to her back in bed, then she will instinctively move into positions that help her pelvis to open up, such as a squatting position (where the pelvis is said to have up to 30% more capacity) or perhaps on all fours – both superb positions for birthing a big baby.

The size of a baby in a normal, physiological birth – where anxiety and “big baby” talk is not present – is largely irrelevant, it doesn’t make it more painful and it doesn’t make it harder!

According to midwife and private birth attendant Gloria Lemay, pelvises open at three stretch points—the symphisis pubis and the two sacroiliac joints. These points are full of relaxin hormones—the pelvis literally begins falling apart at about thirty-four weeks of pregnancy. In addition to this mobile, loose, stretchy pelvis, nature has given human beings the added bonus of having a moldable, pliable, shrinkable baby head. Like a steamer tray for a cooking pot has folding plates that adjust it to any size pot, so do these four overlapping plates that form the infant’s skull adjust to fit the mother’s body.

What if I experience a high level of stress during pregnancy?

A growing number of studies are confirming, that stress and unresourceful thoughts during pregnancy not only increase the risk of pre-term labor, but possibly also lead to a host of other problems for babies after birth.

Building “stress resiliency”—a habit of staying calm and optimistic, and continuing to care well for yourself through periods of heavy stress—is a key to healthy birth outcomes. Michael Lu, an author and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, encourages women to start building resiliency against stress even before they become pregnant—forming good exercise, nutrition and sleep habits, and learning how to solve problems and face adversity without stressing out.

“Who you are and what you’re like when you’re pregnant will affect who that baby is,” says Janet DiPietro, a developmental psychologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Dr. Pathik Wadhwa, assistant professor of behavioral science, obstetrics and gynecology at University of Kentucky College of Medicine states that “At each stage of development, the organism uses cues from its environment to decide how best to construct itself within the parameters of its genes.”

Stress is an example of how a fetus responds to stimuli in the womb and adapts physiologically. “When the mother is stressed, several biological changes occur, including elevation of stress hormones and increased likelihood of intrauterine infection. The fetus builds itself permanently to deal with this kind of high-stress environment, and once it’s born may be at greater risk for a whole bunch of stress-related pathologies.”

By applying the approaches and practising the techniques taught in the Birthing Without Fear audio programme, you greatly enhance your ability to stay cool, calm & collected – with regards to any possible unexpected situation that you might face. Becoming comfortable with the unknown and developing an attitude of “EVERYTHING IS AS IT SHOULD BE” cannot be underestimated.

Byron Katie, author of the best selling book “Loving What Is”, tells us that “Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late.”

While this concept might not seem easy to embody – especially during the birthing process, when your strength and beliefs are being tested, it is a valuable thought, that when trusted deeply, allows you not to be fearful, even if unexpected changes happen.

I took a similar approach during the birth of our son.

Many hours into labour, our trusted Obstetrician asked me if I was afraid. I recall being somewhat surprised by his question. My focus was deep within my birthing body, experiencing a strong connection with our unborn baby, and trusting that my body knew exactly what to do at exactly the right moment. This simply left no space for fear.

Article written by Jana Allmrodt