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Giving birth is simple but hard work. Women have always prepared for the birth of their babies, but learning about birth in a formal way, rather than from family and friends, is a recent phenomenon. Once childbirth moved from home to hospital, the wealth of knowledge -- the wisdom -- that women had about birth was largely lost.
The Power of Knowledge
The desire of an ever-increasing number of women to be awake and aware for the birth of their babies set the stage for reclaiming the wisdom of the past. That wisdom includes why you should be confident in your ability to give birth, what facilitates the progress of labor and what actually helps women be as comfortable as possible during labor and birth.
The Purpose of Pain
The work of normal labor is painful. The pain of labor, like most pain, conveys a message and demands a response. Pain almost always has a purpose. When we touch a hot stove, our response is to remove our hand -- and in doing so, we protect ourselves from serious injury.
The pain of contractions provides direction for women moving through the maze of labor. In response to discomfort and pain, you change position, walk, swing your hips, clench your hands, moan. These actions diminish your perception of pain while helping your baby settle into your pelvis and eventually move down the birth canal. They strengthen the effectiveness of your contractions. It's not surprising that when pain is removed by means of narcotics or regional anesthetics, labor is often prolonged and complications increase.