Planning For A Natural Birth

By Anna-Maria Boelskov - October 29, 2018


Worried about your pain tolerance levels? [video transcript]

I get a question time and time again, and this week I've had it so many times that I thought that I need to bring it out here and share it with you. It's about the idea of wanting a natural birth and low intervention or no intervention birth, but feeling like you can't because you have a low pain tolerance.

Understanding Pain

I think it's really quite interesting because a lot of women feel that they are not able to or they can't have a natural unassisted birth because they have a low pain tolerance. We need to consider the concept of this correlation between having a low pain tolerance and not being able to give birth naturally. Pain in our minds, in our intellectual minds, is something that's acute, something that requires urgent attention. It's something like burning your finger, burning your hand, breaking a limb or stumping your toe, something that is an urgent message from wherever the pain sits signalling to your brain to take action to prevent anything further from happening.

The Key is to be informed about birth

Now birth is very different. For us to get our head around the idea that just because you have a low pain tolerance in your day to day life, does not mean you can't have a natural, unassisted birth. I think it's very important that you educate yourself in great detail about birth, so doing a birth education program is important (here's my recommended birth education program - SheBirths). You need to understand the steps that labour really does entail because understanding the process will make it less worrisome. It'll make it more graspable for you. If you're not informed about birth, then it's very hard to wrap your head around birth and labour because it's really abstract and quite 'out there' until you actually experience it and also until you understand the actual process. That can help you to have a different mindset around pain and the fear around it. Pain and fear are very much closely linked, so if you can remove the fear and empower you instead, then chances are that pain radar is gonna go right down. The other thing is that when you understand what labour is and what it can entail, then you can take the right steps and approaches to help you with the coping mechanisms that are required, that's gonna help you feel like you can cope. They can be things like a support network, so your partner, maybe a doula, the birth team that you have in place. It could be tools that are going to help you.

Having the right mindset is important

The other thing that I think is really important to consider is your mindset. Without the right mindset, anything is going feel hard and difficult and unachievable. Often it's this idea of either deciding you're gonna participate in labour and it's not something that's 'just happening to you'. If you feel like you're just on this journey and birth and labour and motherhood is just happening to you, it can feel really brutal. It can feel really long-winded and hard work. But if you're seeing it from the other perspective of you participating, of you going with it, of you surrendering to the process by being acutely sensitive to what your needs are and being intellectually informed about the process, then you're less likely to buy into fear thoughts. You're less likely to feel like you're a victim of the process.

Giving birth is powerful and worth the hard work and planning

Birth, labour, and motherhood essentially should be empowering and strengthening. Yes, you have to do hard work, but it doesn't have to be a fear-based hard work that translates to pain. Finding the right approaches is crucial and I think that you have to understand that you can have the birth that you want if you're informed and if you have the right people around you. Talk to other women that have had birth experiences that you're hoping and wishing to have. Surround yourself with people that can help you achieve what you want. It's absolutely doable. Women with low pain tolerances have certainly had natural and beautiful births. I've seen it time and time again, I've experienced it myself and it's all about really changing the mindset around what pain is and understanding what labour and birth is. I hope this has inspired you to get more support and believing in yourself so that you can achieve exactly the birth that you're hoping for. 



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