Medical research has shown that fear can affect labor by decreasing blood levels of oxytocin, the hormone that causes contractions. I have found that a realistic, body-centered preparation helps a woman to integrate the intensity of labor even before it occurs. Body-centered preparation allows a woman to anticipate her own physical and emotional response to labor, to master her fear, and thus to give herself greater potential for a smooth and uncomplicated childbirth.
How a woman experiences childbirth may affect her confidence in the first days and weeks of mothering. Medical researchers John Kennell, Marshall Klaus, and M.A. Trause have shown that the hours and days immediately after birth are a sensitive period for mother/infant bonding. How the mother feels about her birth experience, no matter what course labor takes, may affect her relationship with her child. In my own clinical practice, I have observed that even years afterward women can reap psychological benefit from understanding their childbirth experience.
This book represents a continuation of my efforts to make childbirth an empowering and positive experience for women everywhere. Giving birth is the beginning of a mother's relationship with her child. It is also an opportunity for her personal growth.
Excerpted from An Easier Childbirth, by Gayle Peterson, ParentsPlace.com Family Therapist.