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What your brain is doing when you go into labor

"Birthing women are entering a neurological stage very different than what is required in her everyday life".

Tema Mercado

This topic is one that does not get a lot of air time in traditional birth education. Understanding more about what is happening to our body when we go into labor increases our chances of releasing fears and surrendering to what our body is designed to do.

The use of the birthing woman's front cortex is her logical brain used everyday to make decisions and be logical. To birth, the physiology of a women's brain uses her primal or reptilian brain otherwise known as her brain stem. This is to allow the woman to go inward and birth our babies. When this is interrupted for example with how information is delivered to a birthing woman in hospital (requiring her to use her frontal cortex) is not respecting the physiology of the women's birth and interrupts greatly her ability to continued progression of labor. It is not that your body is not working, but that it is working exactly how it was designed but all too often we take the blame as women that our bodies didn't work right.

We must understand and create the environment that is going to allow the birthing women to stay in this state - it is also known as a parasympathetic nervous system state. She is relaxed and doesn't feel threatened or unsafe to continue in her labor. Birthing physiologically is a bodily function that has been refined over 1000's of years - your body knows how to do it. If you are interrupted during this process your body responds by slowing down or stopping.

Things you can do to help your physiology:

  1. Hire a doula - she is experienced and understands how to maintain the birth environment so you can feel safe to continue

  2. Prepare yourself - complete independent birth education for you and your partner

  3. Talk to the hospital are birthing at and ask to see their policies for all things related to birth so you know what perimeters they are required to work within and see if they align with you.

  4. Know how to make informed choices

  5. If you discover that you are not aligned with the setting you have chosen you can change your mind and find a new place to birth. Speaking to a doula can assist you with your options.

If you want to discuss this further please email me


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