The uterus is made up of strong muscles whose action causes it to open and let the baby pass first through its opening, and then through the vaginal passage into the doctor’s hands. Childbirth therefore depends largely on the efficient working of muscles of the uterus and the vagina.
Muscles in our body are of 2 types, voluntary muscles and the involuntary muscles. Voluntary muscles are those over which we have direct control, the muscles of the arms, legs for instance. Involuntary muscles are those over which we have no direct control, like the muscles of our heart or uterus.
If a woman is tense during labor, her uterine muscles will also get tense and perform with great difficulty, because tension in the body is infectious; it passes from one muscle to the other.
However, if she is relaxed, her uterine muscles will work unhampered, and with each contractions they will get closer to complete dilation of the cervix, so that the woman will have a shorter, less painful labor.
This is called ignorance-fear-tension-pain syndrome. That is, ignorance of how the body functions during childbirth causes a fear of the unknown. Fear causes tension, which in turn leads to rigid abdominal muscles, more pain and longer labor.
When the body reacts to stress the mind makes dramatic adjustments for what is perceived as the upcoming emergency.
When a woman experiences fear during the birthing process the following physiological reaction takes place: the mind triggers the release of adrenaline into the body, blood pressure increases, breathing rate increases, speed of metabolism increases, and blood flow to the muscles of your arms and legs increases.
As a result,labor may actually halt in the first stage. Painful contractions may be experienced as blood required for efficient operation of the uterus is siphoned away to the arms and legs.
As a woman tenses her muscles, pain may also be experienced as she unknowingly resists the natural birthing mechanisms of her body.
Whereas, if you eliminate ignorance by understanding the physiology of birth, you will eliminate the fear of the unknown. Without fear, tension will be absent, leading to easy muscle action, so that your body functions as nature intended it to, without being hampered by tension.