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What Does No One Tells You about Giving Birth?

Learn what no on tells you about giving birth from childbirth educator Elizabeth Mangum-Sarach in this Howcast video.


Birth is a normal, physiological process just like yawning, breathing, stretching, peeing, pooping, farting. All of that stuff that our bodies normally do on our own, birth is also a normal, physiological process. It just takes a little bit more effort, like more position changing, more movement, more stretching of organs, and just more effort on your part. Yet it happens every day.

So one thing to really keep in mind about giving birth is really keeping an open mind and being flexible. You want to be able to go into your birth experience knowing your options and understanding yourself and having spoken to your support team about exactly the kind of birth you want to have but at the same time not being attached to a particular outcome. Birth has really taught me about staying in the moment and how important it is to be in the present.

One important thing to remember about giving birth is the resting periods between your contractions. When a uterus is contracting and you're going through those sensations, it will last maybe the majority of time about 90 seconds at its highest peak. So you want to really take advantage of the resting time in between contractions that you have.

One thing to know about giving birth is that it's important to create an environment just like the environment that you had when you made the baby. You want to be as comfortable as possible.

One really important thing to remember while giving birth is to stay really well hydrated. What you want to make sure is to be drinking a lot of fluid throughout and emptying your bladder regularly. This will help to give more room for the baby.

Another thing that nobody tells you about giving birth is that you have the right to refuse any treatment that you want.

So one thing that people don't often talk about, in our culture especially, is that contractions in the process of labor is pain with a purpose. It doesn't always have to be painful. Sometimes women experience birth as sexual, positive feelings. If you do experience these sensations as painful, remember that these sensations have a purpose to them. The purpose to these sensations is to deliver your baby and to have a beautiful birth experience. Think about your contractions as a nice, big hug and a squeeze to your baby in your uterus.

Birth is sexual, meaning that birth is really primal. A woman has to be in touch with that internal primal side, so Ina May Gaskin, a famous midwife in the US, says, "Let your monkey do it." Get in touch with your primate, the primal animal inside of you and really allow yourself to go deep inside to find that internal power and that place of power that is going to lead you to have the kind of birth that you would like to have.

Birth is sexual in that a lot of women don't experience birth as pain in labor. What they experience it as is a sexual sensation. Birth is made up of our sexual organs, our clitoris, our vagina, oxytocin is the love hormone that is released when a woman has an orgasm and also when a woman gives birth. So this hormone actually helps this process. If throughout your labor experience you need to increase the oxytocin to bring labor on, you can just look at the person that you love. You can do anything that you need in order to be comfortable and in touch with your inner animal, your primal self, your sexual being, anything you need in order to have the best birth experience possible.

So one thing that people don't talk about in our culture is that women can actually have orgasms during birth. Many researchers and birth advocates have spoken with women, listened to women about their experiences, and because it's a little taboo to connect sex with childbirth, women don't always feel comfortable to talk about the fact that you actually can have an orgasm during birth and that this is a possibility. It may not be the most common experience for women, but the more and more that we encourage ourselves and others to talk about this experience, the more common it may become.

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