The Fetal Ejection Reflex and how your uterus works during labour

Do you know about the muscles of the uterus and what they are doing during a contraction?

The uterus is INCREDIBLE!

Understanding and visualising exactly how the uterus is working during labour is an incredibly powerful tool to allow yourself to work with the sensations you are feeling rather than against them.

The video below is an amazing explanation of the two major uterine muscles and how they work in harmony to contract the uterus. It also beautifully demonstrates how the muscles move and ‘thicken’ at the top of the uterus to allow for the fetal ejection reflex—where the mother’s body expels the baby with little or no conscious effort.

In class – we talk about the incredible way our body is designed to give birth and also how fear can affect this process. Being able to control your fight or flight response can have a big impact on your uterine muscles and how they are able to work effectively.

What happens when the Fight or Flight response is triggered:

  • Blood and oxygen is directed to extremities to help you run away from ‘perceived threat’
  • Blood and oxygen is directed AWAY from the uterus
  • What is the uterus? A muscle. What do muscles need? Blood and oxygen.
  • Muscles and arteries within uterus constrict as they are oxygen deprived
  • Oxygen to baby is limited
  • Circular muscles at neck of uterus are linked to the sympathetic nervous system – they constrict and tighten (freeze)
  • Meanwhile the longitudinal muscles continue to work (local innervation) – they push the baby against taut muscle
  • Pain is created
  • Labour prolonged
  • Failure to progress
  • Interventions/emergency c-section

Hypnobirth teaches mums and birth partners how to stay in a calm and relaxed state to ensure that the uterine muscles can work effectively to help baby through the birth canal.

Hypnobirth does not teach you how to give birth. Your body already knows how to do that! It teaches your mind to get out of the way so your body can do what it was built to do.

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