Surrendering to birth: 5 things every expectant mom needs to know


2. Quiet. Language stimulates the neo-cortex. In a hospital setting, a birthing woman may be asked precise questions that are impossible to answer without using the neo-cortex. A woman's partner, midwife or doula can play the role of protector, answering questions, outside the room if possible, for the birthing woman.

3. Darkness. Bright lights also increase neo-cortical activity. Dim or turn off the lights. This is another way of allowing the birthing woman to tune in to her inner resources rather than focusing on the world outside.

4. Presence of a mother figure. We know that women throughout the world feel a need to be near their own mother, or a mother figure, who makes them feel secure when giving birth. In Japan, many women move in with their mother prior to the birth. Originally, the midwife represented the mother figure -- the prototype of a person with whom a birthing woman could feel protected and secure. Even some mammals, like elephants and dolphins, give birth surrounded by others. They are not there to help or to watch or to guide. They are there to protect the birthing mother.

5. Freedom to follow her instincts. Women in labor find ways to protect themselves. A birthing woman may go to the bathroom and lock the door to be alone. She may shower, assume a hands-and-knees position with her head down, cover herself with a blanket, or close her eyes. When a woman does not feel observed, she can spontaneously assume a comfortable position. Without even needing to think about it, the birthing woman finds a way to let go and give birth.

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