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Birth Plan – Where To Start

By Denise Spatafora
February 19, 2009
File under: Health, Pregnancy


To begin, dealing with stress is an excellent example of how the mind – body connection works.

If you are in a demanding job or relationship, if you feel anxious and frazzled all the time, or if you always spur yourself on to accomplish more, even when you are tired, the resulting stress will eventually cause disease, or, as I like to think of it,  “ dis-ease,”  in your body.

It is well documented that stress can lead to a host of physical ailments, including heart attack, high blood pressure, weight gain, and obesity. On the other hand, living with chronic or persistent pain or dwelling on and being stressed about your weight can cause clinical depression.

There is no question in my mind about the scientific and practical evidence surrounding the mind – body connection. Candace Pert, PhD, the author of  Molecules of Emotion: The Science behind Mind Body Medicine, and many other books, believes as I do that physiology and psychology are inseparable.

Dr. Pert’s groundbreaking work, laid the foundation for the discovery of endorphins, the hormones released by the brain (in the hypothalamus) and the body (through the pituitary glands) that act as a natural opiate or pain killer and produce a sense of well – being.

From these discoveries, Dr. Pert was able to show that emotions, in the form of biochemicals such as endorphins, act as internal messengers, carrying information to link all major systems of the body into one unit.

This network of communication means that your thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and even fears about birth will affect how you experience childbirth.

When you are deeply relaxed, you increase your production of endorphins, allowing for other chemicals to be released that directly influence how quickly labor comes and how comfortable you are during labor.

If you are stressed, however, or you feel fear or become upset, you increase your production of another set of hormones, called catecholamines, which will cancel out and diminish your production of endorphins.

Check back on Monday for more information on preparing for childbirth.

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