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Pain or Comfort

Katharine Graves shares her view:

“When a woman’s in labour, and this applies to a female of any species, she’s at her most alert because she’s at her most vulnerable. If it was an animal in the wild, if it was a predator, she couldn’t run away. There might be a smell that attracts a predator, and that follows through to human beings.

So a woman is far more alert when she’s in labour than she would be at normal times, and therefore, words have a much greater impact. I’d like you to put yourself in a very, very alert state now.

So perhaps you notice more ideas that come into your mind, feelings are coming to your body. And just notice how you feel if I say to you are you in pain? What happened? Possibly the idea of pain came into your mind that wasn’t there before.

Maybe you just checked whether you were comfortable, whether there was a bit of a backache in the chair you’re sitting in. For some people, there is the slightest tension. I know for me I just feel a tiny little bit of tension in my forehead. And I just take a deep breath.

Put yourself back into that really alert state again. And notice what happens when I say to you are you comfortable? Is that different? Pretty sure it was. I know it is for me. I can just feel some stress dropping off, even stress that I didn’t know was there.

In the normal course of events, those two statements make very little difference and don’t really matter. In labour, they are hugely significant and can put a woman into a stressed situation to give her a long, difficult labour or a confident and calm situation to give her a short, easy labour.”

So the person who’s with you in labour needs to be very aware of this and make sure you’re in a safe space as far as the language which used is concerned.”


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