Necessary Conditions for Mammalian Birth

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Dark

  • Mammals in the wild (even animals in captivity) will seek out a dark space- a den, cave, closet or corner
  • Physiology: We need natural sunlight during the day and natural darkness at night for optimal melatonin production; Melatonin synergizes with Oxytocin to enhance birthing waves.
  • What to do: minimize artificial lights, use candles at night and pull curtains closed during day; avoid light from screens (can use blue blocker apps on devices if must)

Quiet

  • Mammals in the wild seek out quiet spaces in order to protect themselves from predators; noise or disruption will activate adrenaline and alert the mother that this may not be the best environment to give birth
  • Physiology: too much talking and specifically asking questions will stimulate the frontal cortex, the modern language center of the brain; this stimulation takes the mother out of her ancient primal brain which sits near the brain stem, this is where she needs to be to give birth
  • What to do: Ask all present to be quiet during the birth journey, use hushed tones if needing to speak, and try not to ask the mother anything…. Instead of asking if she would like a drink of water, just offer the straw to her lips. Take cues from the mama, she may slide into more primitive non-verbal communication like body language, grunts, head nods, gestures, etc.
  • Mama- you can make as much noise as you like! You are in charge… follow your instincts and listening to your body…. Moan, tone, vocalize, cuss, ask for what you need, tell what you don’t want…. All is welcome and encouraged!

Private

  • Mammals in the wild and even domesticated animals like cows & cats, will go off on their own in order to birth their babies; no one else is necessary. Even our beloved elephants will circle up with their backs to the birthing mother in order to give her privacy.
  • Physiology: a birthing mother who feels observed or watched may block her instinctual connection, her oxytocin hormone production can slow or stop all together
  • What to do: limit the number of people at your birth; invite only those who are absolutely vital to the birthing process, and do your best not to call even those people too early. Encourage anyone present at your birth to keep a 5’ halo around the birthing mother. No one should be sitting and staring at the mother.
  • Mama- practice bringing your focus deeper and deeper within, drawing your senses from outer to inner

Safe

  • Mammals in the wild in the middle of the birth process will completely shut their birth down if their sense of safety is threatened, so that they can get to a safe space and birth their baby later.
  • Physiology: our Sympathetic Nervous system (fight or flight) is our stress response designed originally to help us respond when threatened, in this day and age we can feel ‘stressed’ by many psychological factors as well as physically. When we are under stress, our sympathetic nervous system is online and birth will slow or stop.
  • What do you need to feel Safe? Meditate on this and discuss it with your birth team & create a safe container together.
  • What helps you feel Loved? Love is the natural anti-dote to Fear and helps us feel safe.

 

Imagine a womb-like environment for yourself to give birth in, a dark, quiet, private, safe space… a space just like your baby in your womb; notice how this helps you feel open and relaxed.

May you birth instinctually like the mammal that you are…. may you be undisturbed like our wild progenitors.

 

References: the works of Dr. Michel Odent and Sarah Buckley

 

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