Chapter 4. Relaxation: the key to tranquility in childbirth
Earlier we already briefly considered training in relaxation techniques during pregnancy. However, there are other aspects of this issue that also require close attention. The attitude of a woman to bearing a child can be different. We, obstetricians, should try to recognize which category this or that patient belongs to. And this is especially important when we begin to teach methods of relaxation. Strange, but true, there are two types of women, which are difficult, and sometimes it's almost impossible to train. The first is women who do not really want a child. Usually they get bored during such procedures, perform them as some kind of boring duty, which they are fed up with. Such women very often avoid practical relaxation classes, they resist training. The second type is the patients, on the contrary, they are very, very positive about the child's appearance, so-called enthusiasts, for whom there is nothing more important than applying the latest scientific discoveries. And although they are told in detail about the benefits of relaxation, you can often hear in response that this method is not necessary for them, because they are preparing themselves for the birth to take place absolutely naturally, without any preliminary preparations. But, contradicting their words, such ladies, rejecting the relaxation, do not give up preparatory physical exercises, since they are going to fully control themselves when the moment comes.
But, fortunately, most women are a cross between these two extremes and are pleased to learn the methods of relaxation. Although, of course, all women are different. There are patients:
1) somewhat lazy, negligent in their behavior during pregnancy - they must constantly "spur" and read to them moralizing lectures;
2) real, natural mothers, for whom everything related to motherhood is given easily and naturally; they are quite balanced, although they often act purely instinctively; such women easily adapt to the new conditions of life;
3) future mothers who are overly eager to do everything in the best way - these need to be slightly adhered to.
An experienced doctor will not teach the methods of relaxation of all his patients equally. It is absurd to ask a woman who is negatively inclined towards childbirth to perform the same exercises, at the same time of the day, in the same way as a woman who is optimistic. If we want to get an adequate result, then real demands must be put forward.
What is relaxation? I propose the following interpretation applicable to obstetric practice: relaxation is the state of the body when the whole body's muscle tone is reduced to a minimum. We must remember that the speed and intensity of the physiological reactions and reflexes of a person depend on his neuromuscular tension. At the same time, speaking about neuromuscular tension, we correlate it with the emotional state of a person, since there is a direct relationship between the emotional state and the muscle tone. For example, Edmund Jacobson believes the following: "The results obtained show that with sufficient relaxation of the body, emotions are completely suppressed ..."
Applying this position in obstetrics, we can say that if the body is completely relaxed, it is impossible to experience a feeling of fear. This is a very important factor, since if there is no fear, the regulatory mechanisms of the sympathetic nervous system are cut off from the process. It should be remembered that in this way any excess tension of the tissues of the lower segment of the uterus, cervix and the outlet of the birth canal is eliminated. Thus, complete relaxation contributes to a minimum resistance to the ejection muscles of the birth canal.
Total total relaxation is an ideal to which one should strive, but it is amazing even that a partial relaxation of the organism, far from perfect, miraculously alters the entire course of childbirth. Probably, complete relaxation can not be achieved, but it seems to me that such an expert expert as Jacobson did not speak about her. But if you ever manage to observe a woman before and after that moment in childbirth, when she was offered to relax, you will undoubtedly notice the difference. I often heard enthusiastic words about how the delivery changes after a woman relaxes. If the mother is trained in the methods of relaxation and is able to apply them in practice, the results are surprisingly grateful, since the decrease in the feeling of discomfort during childbirth largely depends on the woman's ability to relax.
Relaxation training should begin in the early stages of pregnancy. During labor, it is difficult to achieve the state of necessary relaxation, unless training and training has been conducted for several months. It is very difficult to correctly apply the relaxation technique during childbirth, if previously it was not carefully worked out. Ability to relax helps and during pregnancy, allowing you to overcome bouts of nausea, prevent unnecessary fatigue.
The husband should encourage his wife in every possible way, so that during pregnancy, in everyday life, she often resorted to methods of relaxation. On his part, it would be wise to master and apply these techniques, as relaxation is important not only during pregnancy and childbirth. Thus, it is possible to lay the foundation of good health, since in a relaxed state the organism works more stably. We all live in constant stress and experience much more than we assume, emotional and physical fatigue. The tension of life undermines the health and happiness of so many of our contemporaries.
In order to understand how much relaxation helps during childbirth, it is useful to learn something about the musculature of the uterus, about how it works.