I have been reading a fantastic book by Ina May Gaskin called 'Ina May's Guide to Childbirth'. For those that don't know, Ina May Gaskin is a world renowned midwife that lives in Southern Tennessee in the US. She and her colleagues live in a small village called "The Farm" a place that women and girls have little or no fear of childbirth. Ina May and her partners have attended births of more than 2,200 babies, most being born at home within the village or at the birth center. The first half of the book has short birth stories told by these mothers and midwives. The second half is Ina Mays guild to childbirth, what happens within the body and things she has witnessed happen such as an 'Orgasmic birth' - Yes it is physiologically possible and if you’d like to know more, take a look at the YouTube clip below.

But the chapter that really caught my attention and made so much sense to me was the chapter titled 'Sphincters Law'. Sphincter refers to a ring-shaped muscle that encircles an opening or passage in the body. We have over 50 sphincters within the human body, some microscopically small. The opening and closing of the anus is controlled by contraction and relaxation of a sphincter, as is the cervical sphincter that releases during childbirth, allowing the baby to pass through the birth canal out into the world.

                                            The basics of Sphincters law are:

  • Excretory, Cervical, and vaginal sphincters function best in an atmosphere of intimacy and privacy - I think we can all agree it would be very difficult to go to the toilet in a room full of people watching and that it is much easier to go in a bathroom with a locked door where interruption is unlikely or impossible.       
  • These Sphincters cannot be opened at will or don’t respond well to commands such as "push"
  • When a person's sphincter is in the process of opening, it may suddenly close down if that person becomes upset, frightened, humiliated, or self-conscious. - This happens because high levels of adrenaline in the bloodstream prevent the sphincter from opening. As with all mammals the body will not want to release anything, especially an offspring if it feels threatened and possibly in danger. I’m sure millions of years ago this saved many lives so you can understand why we were made this way.
  • The state of relaxation of the mouth and jaw is directly correlated to the ability of the cervix, the vagina, and the anus to open to full capacity. - It’s not easy to relax these muscles when you are straining and trying to “push”. If you find yourself in this situation either whilst on the toilet or when in labour, take a few deep breathes, let all the tension out of your mouth and relax those muscles. The proof is in the pudding as they say; you will see what a difference this makes.

Something that wasn’t mentioned here was how important relaxing is in order for these muscles to open. Some people like to read on the toilet or smoke a cigarette, this enables them to relax, take their mind off what’s happening and let the body get on with it whilst concentrating on something else. It is the same way when giving birth, Hypnobirthing mothers are taught visualisations and relaxation techniques to help them focus the mind so the body can do what it is designed to do, without the unnecessary straining.  Instead of having elevated adrenaline levels in the bloodstream, which inhibit the body’s sphincters from opening, Hypnobirthing mothers produce endorphins, the body’s natural feel good hormone allowing the cervix to open as nature intended.

To learn more about hypnobirthing click here

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    I love babies, children and all things relating to birth. I'm
    fascinated by how the body works through pregnancy and believe that knowledge is power. Therefore I would like to share my findings with anyone who will listen in the hope that they too will learn something new.


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