• Holly Clayburn

Dr. Dick- The vagina doctor.


Dr. Grantly Dick-Read was a well known obstetrician who crafted a theory in the 1930's that natural childbirth isn't inherently painful.

HOLD UP

"Are you trying to tell me that a MAN, in the 30s, is attempting to convince me that pushing a child out of my vagina isn't painful?!"

No, not quite. He theorized that fear=pain, and this theory has been proven time and time again.

According to him the fear or anxiety that a woman feels while in labor causes her body to react in a way that intensifies labor. When you are scared your 'flight or fight' response is triggered which in turn pumps your blood to your major organs first ( think heart, lungs, brain) therefor decreasing blood flow to your uterus and making that minor contraction feel as if its ripping through your body. He hypothesized that the pain women experience in labor is largely due to the fear of labor that is so rampant in our culture. To combat this fear he recommended preparing for labor through education, birth planning, and mental/emotional coaching. (Maybe a doula?)

While this article has a funny name, it is not in fact about Dr. Dick-Read, but his theory is extremely relevant to what it really is about... Unmedicated childbirth. While some women can only imagine this route for birthing a child, it scares the daylights out of others. With all of the technology, information, and anesthetics we have available these days some people make you feel crazy for wanting an unmedicated childbirth. If a woman chooses to use every resource available to her, such as an epidural or other pain medications that is wonderful! For her. Just because that's exactly what she wanted or her birth, doesn't mean that she gets to tell you that you're crazy for wanting something different. Hearing that "you're insane" for not wanting an epidural over and over is bound to put a little fear into you, especially if you're a first time mom. "All these other women swear by an epidural, maybe I'm making the wrong choice." DOUBT. Doubt drop kicks the door wide open for fear, and birth shouldn't be about fear. Giving life to another human being is empowering, no matter how you choose to do it. But if you do decide to go the au naturale route then I have some tips for you.

  • First off, feel like a badass! You can do it!

  • Change your vocabulary- What I mean by this is stop speaking of birth as if its scary and painful. Change your vocabulary, change your mindset. Disassociate pain with birth, instead speak of it positively.

  • Birth affirmations- Speaking of positively, writing down birth affirmations to read during labor can give you the confidence boost you need to make it through. "I am powerful." "I can do anything for 60 seconds." "My body was made for this." "I have great hair and a killer butt." Literally, whatever works for you.

  • Take charge- By making a birth plan you can be sure that everyone in the room knows your wishes. You won't be asked 500 times if you want relief, instead you will be encouraged and asked what they can do to help in different ways. You wont have to waste time, or lose your focus to explain- AGAIN- why you don't want an epidural.

  • Breathing techniques- Similar to meditation, controlling your breathing or counting it out can control your focus and relax your mind/body. Soft, quiet breaths to yourself while concentrating on relaxing different parts of your body as you exhale should pull your focus from the pain, and turn it into an inner dialogue that's all about peace and relaxing.

  • Change positions- Walk around, bounce on a ball, get in the tub, do a jig, switch from your back to hands and knees. Listen to your body and do what it tells you, whatever feels right. Sometimes (a lot of times) your needs change with the stages of labor so the freedom to do what your body says can make all the difference.

  • Hire a doula- Doulas are trained and well equipped to help mothers with everything I have previously stated, but with many more benefits. Your doula may recognize that what was working at keeping you calm and relaxed before is no longer working, and suggest a change. She can rub your back, hold your hand, help your partner figure out how to be more involved in helping you cope and can make suggestions that you might not think of in those moments. The wonderful thing about having a doula is that we are unbiased, this is YOUR birth and we work for you.

Above anything else, always remember that if you try for an unmedicated birth and change your mind, THAT IS OKAY! That is not failure. That is you doing what you need, what is best for you and for your tiny person. The are no rules to birth, no guarantees and no one size fits all plans. One last tip for you... When you're in the throws of labor, in the hardest part and feel like giving up, keep this in mind; this will not last forever. One way or another that baby is coming out of you, and when that happens you will forget every single ounce of pain that you just experienced, and it will have all been worth it.

I'll leave you with my personal favorite quote from the famous doctor. "Faith eliminates fear."

Have faith that your body was made to endure this, and you'll have nothing to fear.

Peace, Love & Wine

Holly Clayburn, Birth Doula

#unmedicated #naturalbirth #paintheory #DrDickRead

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