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Labour and the Fear-Tension-Pain Cycle

Updated: Jan 11, 2023

Having a baby is very exciting! We want to see who the baby looks like, cuddle the baby, and look deep into baby's eyes. We can't wait to fall in love!

However, we're all nervous about labour. It's unknown! And all the TV we've watched, and often stories we've heard, make us believe it's very painful. And that feels scary.

About 100 years ago, a doctor named Grantly Dick-Read wrote a book called 'Childbirth Without Fear'. He noticed over and over that birth was possible without much discomfort when pain was not expected. He developed a concept called the Fear-Tension-Pain Cycle. He noticed that fear of birth caused a lot of physical tension, which greatly increased pain and the need for interventions. And the more we discover about the hormones and physical process of birth, the more we discover about how fear and tension negatively affect the birthing process.

Natural childbirth methods, such as Hypnobirthing or Lamaze, (and doulas who help people to give birth with less fear!), use this concept to help decrease pain in labour. Dr. Dick-Read's concept was so important that it's still being used every day to help birth be easier and more comfortable.

Your doula will help you and your support person to break this cycle. We decrease pain by breaking the cycle of fear and tension. Now, it does not work to say, "Hey, don't be scared, and relax, and everything will be better." That's true, but telling your brain true facts does very little to help your body. And your body is where the pain and tension are stored.

I teach people how to use the power of love to release tension and fear in the body. Love and touch creates relaxation, and I teach specific tools to practice with your labour support person to create the deep relaxation in labour that leads to a less painful labour. And I also do NOT have goals for what sort of labour my clients should have. I teach you about your superpowers, and you use them as you please! Every labour is different, and should be entered into with an open mind. There is no need for guilt about your decisions in labour. Having a baby is not a performance! The skills I teach will lead to a more calm, confident and relaxed labour. A labour where your partner knows how to help you. My prenatal education will help you to achieve your goals!

So let's break fear, and decrease the tension. Let's decrease tension, and the pain will be so much more manageable. This is the foundation of a more comfortable labour, where you feel loved, heard, and cared for. This is how labour was designed to be. I wish you all a powerful birth experience!

With love,

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