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Childbirth Affirmations: The Power of Positive Thought

Written by Bridgett Torrence   
Wednesday, 01 June 2005 00:00
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Julie’s story is not unique. In her latest book, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, midwife Ina May Gaskin relates the story of a woman who said, “I just want to open up and let this baby out.” Gaskin wrote, “I had never heard a woman express the wish for her cervix to open while I had my fingers on it to confirm that it was happening. Pretty fancy, I thought, to be able to tell your body exactly what you want to happen and have it comply.”

Such is the power of the mind-body connection. According to Susan Fekety, MSN CNM, author of The Pocket Midwife: Affirmations for Healthy Pregnancy and Normal Birthing, “Affirmations are mindfully worded statements that guide the subconscious mind to manifest a particular situation. More and more research in mind-body medicine shows that many (if not all) physical responses start in the mind-emotional realm. Think of a blush, or the high heartbeat when a lover approaches, or butterflies in the stomach; what we are discovering is that the body responds to thoughts.”

Overcoming Fear

Just as positive thoughts can speed up a labor, negative thoughts can slow down or even halt labor. Brooke Myung describes the thoughts that inhibited her labor progress: “The only things I could imagine were being overwhelmed by two children, nursing two and trying to drag myself out of postpartum depression. No wonder it took me 12 hours to get from five to seven centimeters!”

According to Fekety, emotional blocks such as these can be removed by using affirmations that target the issue hindering labor. “In situations where women have a lot of fear, affirmations work particularly well because there is an antidote for the fear in the words she says to herself and fear is one of the most toxic physiologic conditions there is for a pregnant or laboring woman. Fear kicks in all the stress hormones, and you don’t want those around.”