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Updated: May 18, 2023

Have you ever heard or seen phrases written like, "surrender" or "ride the waves"? (melt into the contractions & not fighting them) when it comes to the birth world?

When our bodies go into auto mode during labor without our consent, we can start to feel things we have never felt before. This can naturally seem frightening and foreign.

Labor, by definition, means "work".

Did you know that the same noises made during intercourse to create a child are the same noises that can assist during labor?

More specifically, moaning.

Low vibrations in our vocal cords can release the pelvic floor to help relax the lower halves of our bodies during labor. When I say "release", I am referring to pent up energy like tension. Tension kept in the pelvis, or anywhere in the body for that matter, can prevent baby from moving naturally down the birth canal.

It is completely natural to want to run away or tense from any discomfort or pain. (fight. flight, freeze or fawn response) Feeling uncomfortable can also result in high pitched screams and clenched bodies (which can happen) as well. The problem with these responses is that more often than not, they work against our favor in labor.

Depicted below, you will see that despite squatting into a contraction you can see Lorie's resistance in her forearms. When she is encouraged to "surrender", you can see her fully melt into the contraction with a low moan.

As much as labor is physical, I would argue that it is just as much mental, if not more. Birth happens when it happens. Unless interventions are planned, there is little to no control on when our bodies and our babies are ready to start labor.

The goal of the low tonal exhaling is to release the pelvic floor to work with our bodies and not against. Depending on one's pain tolerance and understanding of what is happening, the mental fortitude is incredibly important and often overlooked.

Of course this can be easier said than done, however, this type of breath work can be practiced during pregnancy to train your body.

Luisa Alexandre illustrates the correlation and similarities between the larynx & the uterus below. The cervix and larynx are also connected by the vagus nerve.

Everything is linked.

Art depiction: @louisaalenadre
Art depiction: @louisaalenadre

Sometimes accessing an epidural is not an option for everyone, every body or for every birth, so this information could be useful for an alternative measure. This also gives perspective to individuals who survived sexual trauma to understand what can be happening in their bodies and to have information to self soothe and self trust. This information highlights the need for trust between care providers, clients and partners so that sounds during labor are not frowned upon or even worse, discouraged. The information shared in this blog is for education, open discussion and thought provoking purposes.

Additional sources:

Art depiction: @louisaalenadre

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