Want an easy labour? Stop thinking, says childbirth expert
A leading obstetrician has warned pregnant women that 'thinking too much' can hinder labour.
Dr Michael Odent says that switching off conscious thought increases the likelihood of the ‘foetus ejection reflex’, which allows the baby to be born with no conscious effort by the mother.
Speaking to New Scientist, Dr Odent said: ‘The neocortex is useful for daily life, but in some situations – like sex and childbirth – we must stop thinking.’
The former head of the surgical and maternity units at Pithiviers hospital in France, Dr Odent continued:
'If nobody is interfering there will be a short series of irresistible contractions, no voluntary movements at all.
‘It’s as if the woman is in a kind of ecstatic state, off the planet, and then the baby is born. It’s a quick and easy birth.’
Dr Odent believes that having the father-to-be in the delivery room may make the labour longer by preventing the mother from fully letting go. He also said the bright lights of the average birthing suite are not conducive to a quick labour because they inhibit melatonin, the ‘darkness hormone’.
Melatonin enhances the production of the love or bonding hormone oxytocin during labour and works together with oxytocin to make the uterus contract.
A leading light in his field, Dr Odent (85) is the author of the first articles about the initiation of breastfeeding during the hour following birth and the first article about the use of birthing pools during labour.