Pain Free Labour Web Page

At Last! After months of work the Pain Free Labour web page is now on line.

Hoping to teach women how to approach labour so that the first stage can be pain free.

Contains all the information todays women need to understand why uterine smooth muscle was never designed to cause the sensation of pain when contracting normally.

New information introduced on how to avoid induction of  labour – research based.

Contains relaxation techniques that when practiced in labour will halt the production of adrenalin that can mess up a low risk labour.

Learn the hazards to a pain free labour so that women can begin planning now how they will approach labour. Calm and in control instead of afraid and panicking.

Labour well.

Ann, Midwife from Manchester. xx


Progresive Muscle Relaxation

The secret to pain free labour is to use relaxation techniques practiced in pregnancy as soon as labour starts in order to avoid the complications brought on by adrenalin production.

The best relaxation technique I have used is to sit in a comfortable chair with pillows or supports as necessary to give good support to your back. You then close your eyes and focus on your feet. You imagine all the tension flowing out of them and you say to yourself (in your mind, not out loud or people will think you are nuts) feet relax.

You work up the body in this fashion paying particular attention to your shoulders and neck as this is where we store a lot of our stress and tension.

This technique once practiced can be done quite quickly when in labour so you are ready for the next contraction. A relaxed person does not secrete adrenalin so the cervix is free to dilate. The contractions therefore do not have to increase above normal as you are making their work easier.

Take control and have confidence. We are women, we are built to give birth and we can be very good at it.

Let me know if you have a pain free labour as a result of this technique and help spread the word.

pain free labour 8 copy

Pain Free Labour/Labor books now available from Amazon.

Was it in the 1950s when birth went wrong?

Read an article posted by Orgasmic Birth and was interested in their telling of the history of childbirth and when it all went wrong:-

Why do our fellow mammals give birth calmly without epidurals?

Why do our fellow mammals give birth calmly without epidurals?

“In the 1950s, with the new dynamic of birth being behind closed doors- women were alone, drugs and twilight sleep were given, and as a result the knowledge of how to work with our bodies in birth was lost and fear grew. I can’t even imagine what it was like for the many women who found themselves alone, in a hospital gown, put down with a wheel chair and tied to bed (yes they were tied with lambs wool). How different this was from being in your own home, in your own clothes and familiar textiles and fabrics, surrounded by those who love you. While we have had benefits of hospital birth, there is much to ponder and question of what we have lost and what we can birth forward in new ways.”

They have taken birth away from women, but we can get it back. Education is the key. Real education, not gained from watching One Born Every Frelling Minute!

See my posts Why Labour Hurts (5 posts) and Hazards to a Pain Free Labour.(6 posts)

The doctors can care for high risk women such as diabetics and eclamptics. Leave the low risk women to find a better way to labour. Birth centers in England are amazing but you may still find a midwife there who calls contractions “pains”. Just follow the advice for learning a relaxation technique (post-Progressive Muscle Relaxation) in pregnancy and stay sat upright on a ball or chair or couch, mobilising when you need to. Stay at home for as long as possible, scoffing lots of carbs before going to hospital, you will know when the time is right, listen to your inner voice. Better still have a home birth then the midwife will come to you.

We need to listen to our bodies and trust. WE ARE WOMEN AND WE ARE POWERFUL AND WE LOVE IT!

Pain Free Labour books now available from Amazon, cheap as chips to download.

Hazards to a Pain Free Labour – 6

By far the biggest hazard to a pain free labour is YOU. Society has taught you that labour will be painful, that the contractions will cause pain during the first stage of labour. This view of childbirth has been around for the past three hundred years. Why would the weight of all that knowledge and history be wrong?

If you want to solve a murder then you look for who will benefit from a persons death. If you want to solve the mystery of why we are taught that labour will be painful then look at who has benefited from our pain.

The international best-seller Dean Koontz captured the essence of why we accept painful labours so easily when he wrote:

  •        “Fear is the engine that drives the human animal. Humanity sees the world as a place of uncountable threats, and so the world becomes what humanity imagines it to be.”

In our dark dank past women were exploited. They were not even allowed an education so that they could say “Hey, stop exploiting me you patriarchal society you”. We have had to fight tooth and nail for our relative freedom. The only battle that has yet to be won in the civilised world is childbirth.

Fear of childbirth has been instilled in us for hundreds of years. Doctors have made money out of us by keeping us in fear so that their services are needed to provide a medical model of care to help us birth. Early midwives were burned as witches so that women would turn to the medics in their time of need.

Modern health care follows blindly the belief in painful labours as the norm. There has been no research that I know of to support this belief. Within the UK we pride ourselves on offering evidence based practice and yet there is no evidence that uterine smooth muscle is designed to cause the sensation of pain when contracting normally. Yet we continue to believe. “The world becomes what humanity imagines it to be.”

Perhaps women want painful labours. Perhaps fear is the engine that drives the human animal. Perhaps we only feel comfortable when something we believe in comes true. Any other outcome would be too hard to accept, too big a paradigm shift for us to relate to.

Well tough. Get with the plan. Pain Free Labour has begun to seep into our belief system concerning childbirth. Midwifery led birthing centers are springing up all over the UK. Women are having pain free labours during the first stage when taught how to approach labour. Relaxation techniques are being learnt in parentcraft sessions to keep women from entering the stress/pain cycle often seen in labour.

We are being allowed to learn the truth about labour now in the UK only because the strain on the NHS from medicalised care has become too much. A calm pain free labouring woman in a pool is cheap compared to a theatre full of expensive equipment and staff. The caesarian section rate has reached an all time high. We have lost faith in our innate ability to labour naturally.

If I had not experienced this phenomena of pain free labour personally then I may well have been one of the supporters of offering elective caesarian sections for maternal choice. As a midwife I have helped countless women to have a pain free labour. As an author, I have explained in detail why adrenalin, secreted when we are anxious, can cause contractions to become painful.

So, who will join me in supporting the massive shift that we need in our belief system that will enable women to labour as nature intended; with medical support on stand by if needed? Who will be brave enough to swim against the tide and face the wrath of humanity when one of their “uncountable threats” is removed leaving them uncertain and afraid? Who will take a leap of faith in order to free women from the last of societies manacles holding us down? Who, maybe you?

Pain Free Labour books now available from Amazon.

Hazards to a Pain Free Labour – 5

Cardiotocographic (CTG)  monitoring of the fetal heart rate was first introduced in Germany in 1968. It was seen as a way of reducing fetal demise and cerebral palsy rates. In practice the false positive rate for cerebral palsy is as high as 99%. That is, out of 100 non reassuring CTG traces, only one will go on to suffer from cerebral palsy or other neonatal encephalopathy. Research has also shown that use of CTG monitoring in labour is more likely to result in an instrumental or caesarian section birth.

The British National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines clearly state that women who are in good health and with an uncomplicated pregnancy do not need to be monitored continuously on a CTG machine. Instead, low risk women will be offered intermittent monitoring. That is, a midwife will listen in every 15 minutes during the active first stage of labour and every 5 minutes during the second stage. The active first stage is from 5cm dilatation till your cervix is 10 cm dilated. The second stage is from 10 cm dilated till the baby has been pushed out.

Some midwives see CTG monitoring as an easy option. They only have to comment on the trace every half an hour and so it is less labour intensive.  As previously discussed in this blog, lying down in labour leads to painful contractions. In order to obtain an optimal CTG trace it is best to have the mother lying down on the bed with the back of the bed slightly raised. This position is not upright enough for a pain free labour.

A compromise can be made if you can sit on a birth ball or chair beside the monitor or a mobile monitor is available. With mobile monitors you are free to mobilise, or sit down where you are upright enough for a pain free labour. If these positions do not produce the trace that the midwife would like then that is his/her problem. They may have to press the transducer onto your abdomen in order to pick up the fetal heart, this is time consuming and only a dedicated midwife will put in the extra effort. Remember, you are the client and we are merely offering a service, you are the boss. If you do not get what you want then get your birth partner to complain. You however, have to remain calm and upright so leave the negotiating to someone you trust.

My third labour was spoiled by a midwife who forced me to lie down on a bed with a CTG running throughout the labour. I was low risk. If I had known better I would have refused the CTG and been able to sit and have my planned pain free labour. I hope you are stronger than I was and able to negotiate monitoring with a flexible midwife who has you and your baby’s welfare at heart.

Pain Free Labour books now available from Amazon.


Hazards to a pain free labour/labor – 4

There are some people who are incapable of relaxing. Coffee drinkers are adrenalin junkies, they find it difficult to sit still for five minutes let alone relax and become tension free for a whole labour. Caffeine is a psychoactive stimulant which acts on the central nervous system by promoting the release of catecholamines such as adrenalin.

Caffeine can also cause dehydration which is not a good idea in pregnancy as the blood needs to remain quite dilute in order to get in and out of the placenta easily. Your baby gets all his nourishment and oxygen from you, if your blood is too thick by you being dehydrated then your baby will suffer. Research has also shown that caffeine intake during early pregnancy can contribute to miscarriages.

Caffeine is not only found in coffee. It is also in black tea, green tea, cola and some energy drinks. If you stop your caffeine intake suddenly you may experience withdrawal symptoms, which include headache and nausea. There is a reduction in serotonin levels when caffeine input is stopped which can cause anxiety, irritability, inability to concentrate and lethargy. It would therefore be a good idea to cut down slowly on caffeine intake before becoming pregnant.

It is not only the fact that caffeine makes it difficult for people to relax and so relaxation techniques become ineffective. It is the fact that caffeine causes the body to release adrenalin. As you have seen previously, adrenalin causes all kinds of problems in labour and is to be avoided at all cost. If you are unable to kick the caffeine habit before pregnancy then try stopping caffeine intake well before labour begins. This will leave you in a calmer state of mind, ready to respond to your chosen relaxation technique in labour.

Pain Free Labour books now available from Amazon.


Hazards to a pain free labour/labor – 3

Haemoglobin or iron levels for a non-pregnant woman are 11.5 to 16 g/dl. In pregnancy, your blood is diluted to make it thinner so that it gets in and out of the placenta easier, clever. Even with this haemodilution, which is normal, your iron levels should not fall below 10.5 g/dl. Iron tablets are not routinely given in pregnancy unless there is a history of anaemia or you have symptoms (feeling very tired, breathless or dizzy). Not everyone can tolerate the tablets and often just stop taking them. This means that when you go into labour your oxygen carrying capacity is reduced and as discussed in Why labour hurts 2, this will cause the contractions to become painful.

To avoid this complication you need to keep your levels up. A blood test is taken at booking at around 12 weeks gestation, this will tell your midwife if you need iron. An alternative to the iron tablets is to have the iron in liquid form. Your doctor may not want to prescribe this as it costs more than the tabs but you have to insist, it is much easier to digest.

When I had my fourth baby I was a vegetarian, so thought I should take extra steps to ensure good iron levels before the birth for a pain free labour. From the time I found out I was pregnant I had 1 small spoonful of black strap molasses three times a day with meals. At first I found it too thick and sticky but soon got used to it and after a while really enjoyed it. My iron levels stayed at 12 throughout the pregnancy and I was able to have a wonderful pain free labour at home.

According to research, we get 90% of our iron from fruit and veg, so to optimise iron levels it would be prudent to change your diet to include extra of these for the pregnancy. We only get 10% of our iron from meat cos it is bound up in animal red blood cells so is harder to get at.

Tea and coffee stop us from absorbing the iron in our food so should never be taken with meals, orange juice or some other drink rich in vitamin C should be drunk instead. Iron supplements taken without vitamin C will not be absorbed so always take them with a fruity drink.

Ask your midwife for a check on your iron levels at 28 weeks when haemodilution is complete, the result will give you a good idea of how you have been affected. It also gives you time to get your haemoglobin to a decent level before you go into labour. Broccoli has never tasted so good.


Pain Free Labour books now available from Amazon.