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| Birth Easily
The key to birthing easily is reducing the control of the most recently evolved part of the brain (the neocortex) and moving awareness into the primal, ancient, instinctual brain. Body will do this naturally if allowed.
The neocortex is considered the seat of higher-order brain functions. Unfortunately this higher-order is not helpful to easy birth. Obstetrician Dr Michel Odent (Midwifery Today #125, Spring 2018, accessed online 23 May 2018) explains:
Until recently, the gigantic and powerful neocortex was usually considered a tool at the service of vital physiological functions, providing information on space and time and facilitating communication. With the fast development of neurophysiology, it is suddenly easier to understand that, in specific situations, neocortical activity can, on the contrary, inhibit vital functions. This is the case, for example, of the sense of smell: When we moderate our neocortical control by drinking a glass of wine, we reinforce our sense of smell (Endevelt-Shapira et al. 2014). This is also the case with the birth process. It is as if, in certain circumstances, the tool becomes the master.
In the current scientific context, it is urgent to challenge the dominant interpretations of the difficulties of human births. It is commonplace to focus on mechanical factors. This perspective does not explain why, occasionally, women who are not morphologically special give birth easily within minutes, while others need a cesarean after long hours of hard labour. Such an enormous discrepancy is explained through the concept of neocortical inhibition.
This concept is a key to understanding the solution nature found to make human birth possible and even potentially easy. It is a simple solution: The neocortex must reduce its activity. Even during the twenty-first century, after thousands of years of socialisation of childbirth, there are still some women and health professionals who can easily interpret this solution. They know that when a woman can give birth easily by herself, without any pharmacological assistance, there is a time when she is cutting herself off from our world, forgetting what she had been taught, forgetting her plans, and behaving in a way that usually would be considered unacceptable for a civilised woman—for example, screaming or swearing. Some women can find themselves in the most unexpected, bizarre, often mammalian, primitive, quadrupedal postures. Interestingly there are anecdotes of women in hard labour complaining of odours that nobody else could perceive: This is an eloquent symptom of the kind of reduced neocortical control that appears as the prerequisite for easy birth among humans.
When this solution that nature found is understood, it becomes easy to analyse and summarise the basic needs of a labouring woman: A labouring woman needs to feel protected against all possible stimulations of her neocortex. The keyword is protection.
He then outlines these basic needs, that protect against neocortex stimulation:-
In Odent's hospital in France, while singing together around the piano, pregnant women were not reading informative books or following classes!
There is also a tendency to ignore that after giving birth women can remain for hours, and even days, in a specific state of consciousness. There is:
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