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The Elephant Midwives

Remember the Elephant Midwives By Gemma Nealon; Midwife and Natal Hypnotherapist Elephants have midwives too.  In the wild they have midwives who surround them in a circle during their labour & birth, protecting the pregnant mother, whilst swaying along with the labouring elephant. The elephant midwives may care for the pregnant elephants throughout their long gestation of over 21 months, during labour & birth, and throughout infancy. In labour, the elephant midwives may stroke the birthing mother and make sounds along with the labouring elephant. Within the circle of birth, the midwives protect the mother elephant and assist the newborn to be released from the amniotic sac, stand up &  take its first steps. The wisdom of the elephant midwives, demonstrates the power of birth attendants, be it birth partner, doula or midwife, supporting women during labour and birth, to protect the birthing mother from unnecessary disturbances, isolation, and...

The Hormones of Labour and Birth: Friend or Foe?

The Hormones of Labour & Birth: Friend or Foe? By Gemma Nealon Mother nature is kind. She has gifted the birthing woman with everything her body needs to give birth; a cocktail of hormones ready to serve and guide the labouring Mother’s body every step of the way. Although during labour and birth many hormones are involved, three of these hormones have a key role to play. These hormones are oxytocin, the hormone of love; endorphins, the natural pain and stress reliever; adrenaline, the famous flight or flight hormone. The important thing to recognise about these hormones is that a pregnant woman’s state of mind and the environment in which she births, can dramatically influence these hormones in labour and therefore the course of her labour. To understand this is a gift, as it means the labouring woman and her birth partner can make sure that the hormones of labour and birth became their friend, and not their foe. Michel Odent (1994), the famous Obstetrician and author states, “..the balanced secretion of hormones is a delicate matter, highly responsive to external conditions and psychological states” To elaborate on this, the labouring woman’s body, left undisturbed in labour, will produce a divine cocktail of the aforementioned hormones that work harmoniously together to facilitate a spontaneous, safe, natural and potentially transcendent labour and birth. Quite sensibly however, this cocktail of hormones can do quite the opposite if the labouring woman’s body is disturbed or under sustained stress in labour. First, let us look at the hormone oxytocin. We still do not know exactly what happens for a woman to go into...

How the mind can hinder and help you get pregnant

Preparing to conceive – how the mind can hinder and help you get pregnant. By Maggie Howell   With all the pressures, hopes and expectations of women today, it is now a common scenario that for many years, a women will do everything and anything to stop her body from getting pregnant.  She zooms through her prime child bearing years with thoughts of career, travel, romance, money, mortgages…… Her only thoughts about her own fertility are towards remembering to take the pill and hoping to keep her periods so regular that she can plan her social life more effectively.   Then without being consciously aware, her body clock begins ticking louder and louder until strong new feelings seep through every pore, a new longing, a new desire to hold her own baby.  She may be in the right relationship, she may not, but the feelings are still there.  Gone is the desire for a full throttle lifestyle and in its place is such an inner longing, a desperate yearning to fulfil her true role, to become a mother.   And yet for many that conscious choice to become pregnant does not always translate into reality.  Consciously she decides that now would be a good time to become pregnant but for many reasons her body does not listen and month after month go by without the outcome she craves.  What many people do not realise is that our body does not work in a purely mechanical way – our mind and body are not 2 separate entities.   In fact our emotions, memories and thoughts are all stored within our...