What does "Trust Your Body" and "The Body Knows" kinda language really mean?


I'm somewhat new here and only recently started getting more into reading discussions. I have seen the movie/documentary and I like the idea of a 'natural' birth but at this point I still have a regular 'ol OB and plan to keep him, knowing he may or may not deliver my baby himself. I also would be very happy if I can go without meds...hope I don't have need for a C-section, etc. Natural sounds GREAT...but I'm not married to the idea.

Anyway, it seems that whenever I read information and pro-natural birth stuff I read things like "trust your body" and "the body knows how to birth" and stuff like that. I am not clear on what that means. I agree that the body of a woman more or less is programmed to make birth happen and there are hormones, processes, etc that work together in harmony to get the job done. But in my gut...I don't "trust" my body. All bodies are NOT perfect. Things go wrong...people get cancer, diabetes, lupus, etc. The human body sometimes (often) has flaws and sometimes doesn't do things as planned. So how far do you all take this notion of "trusting the body" as if it can not go wrong? I, personally, can only trust so much and tend to think that experienced nurses and docs can't be SOO FAR out in left field as to be 'dangerous' for the average delivery.

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It is those "different things" that you have to give yourself permission to trust. They are important and they will help your body do its job =)
We build for ourselves what we choose to believe. Experience is an important factor but experience is not outside our reach. You can sign up for hands on classes, work with a midwife to observe births, become active in the homebirth community and more.

A doctor or nurse is not a different species. They did exactly what you can do. I am doing it right now. It's called reading a book, watching a video, looking in a petri dish or helping another human in a specific situation. They spent Monday-Friday, taking on average 7 classes a semester, studying specific things. If you are at home, imagine how much faster you could assimilate the same knowledge!
Well...my friend and I met with the doula-like woman. She's not really a doula by profession and has really only helped a couple of friends with their births. She seemed very nice and like someone who would be supportive, but for ME, I would prefer that role go to my husband. He may not be experienced at giving birth, may not be a woman, but he's who I want in that role and I think it would be difficult for him to feel useful if someone else stepped in and essentially took over that role because of her increased experience. Not that I think she would be rude...but HE would feel less important and pushed aside. I WANT him to be my main cheerleader and supporter, so for all intents and purposes he's gonna be my Doula Hubby :-D

I think if it was someone both my hubby and I knew really well (perhaps a family member we were close to) then I'd feel more attracted to the idea. It was interesting to watch her birth video, however. She used a birthing stool (for the last part including when baby arrived). So it was a good opportunity to just talk more about birth ideas, etc.
Yeah, that's actually why I didn't have a doula. My husband was the guy who sat with me the whole time, the one who danced with me and helped me up and down the stairs and let me wring the blood out of his arms. It was also really nice to have a couple of female friends in case my husband had to like pee, or eat or you know, move! I don't know what you'll be like in labor, but I surprised myself at how I couldn't be alone. I could only cope if I was touching somebody. It was kind of weird since I'm kind of an anti-hugger. But yeah, I'm one for husbands instead of doulas (no offense to doulas, maybe I just have that kind of husband).
My husband was my doula also:) And I loved it. It brought us together in a way that nothing else could. But you have to make sure he is able to deal with you being in labor. I know many women who get epidurals because their spouses couldn't deal with it:) I still sometimes wonder if I would like to have a doula there though....someone who can appreciate the role my husband plays, but also allow him a break when he needs it or offer suggestions that maybe we don't know about.
Rachel, I think that that is exactly what a doula's role is when the husband is comfortable being involved. At my last birth the husband and I took turns coaching the mom during the night and taking breaks, we took care of each other as much as we took care of her. At one point I was rubbing her back with cold wash cloths and he was in front rocking with her and breathing with her. It was really amazing to fall in to that rhythm with them and to be a part of that experience.

I've said this before, but I think the biggest reason to have a doula is not to support you because your husband can't, it's to support you in a WAY your husband can't, because I don't have the same emotional attachment to the mom and baby that the father does. I can see a broader spectrum on the situation and maintain level in any situation.
ITA! My husband was the only person I wanted present at birth. And he was amazing! In fact, I joke all the time that he should become a midwife.

I told him he got me into this so he had to see me through it. Sounded goofy at the time, but he was an awesome support partner.

Although I am sure next time that we will have more people to help out...for example I really want an interactive videotap (not just a camera on a tripod the whole time...although we didn't even manage to do that!)
My story is this. I have 2 kids, 9 years apart. With my first baby, I was younger. I thought I was pretty well informed about the birth process, but knowing what I know now, I really wasn't. I kept an open mind and figured I would just go with the flow. Labour and birth was nothing that I could have imagined it would be. I literally thought I was dying. I had a good support team with me, but I really was not in the frame of mind to go through that kind of pain. I had every mind altering drug they could shoot into my (which really didn't lessen the pain at all, just helped me to relax)and eventually an epidural. I delivered vaginally a 9lb 14oz baby and had a fairly complicated 3rd degree tear, and large blood loss. And a baby that had difficulty breathing at first because he was groggy from the narcotics, and he had ahard time latching.Everything was ok in the end, but it was really traumatizing for me emotionally.

WIth my 2nd baby I was scared of going through a similar situation again. I learned a lot throughout my pregnancy and being well informed of the risks and benefits of all the intervnetions I had my heart set on avoiding drugs, but I also had that feeling in the back of my mind, that maybe I wouldn't be able to do it. I remembered that feeling of thinking I was literally dying, and I didn't know if I would be able to do it.
But having gone through it before, I knew I would make it through ( iknew i wasn't going to die ! ha ha). I went through my entire labour (about 24hrs from start to finish) without any pain medication at all. I just took it one contraction at a time, and I trusted my body. My mind was focused on the light at the end of the tunnel and I knew I could do it. It was pain with a purpose, and I was mentally fully in control the entire time. To my suprise I never even asked for drugs....I really didn't need them.

Having done it both ways, I feel that doing it naturally was a better expereince for me and it is the best for the baby. I think what they mean by "trust your body" is that the power of the mind is really more powerful than any drug. Your body knows how to give birth. Have faith in it. It hurts, yes, but your mind is powerful, the comfort, reassurance and strength you get from a good support team is invaluable. ' If you beleive you can do it, you really can. I don't regret for an instance getting my epidural the first time around. I was not psychologically or emotionally prepared for that experience and I dont' think any holistic, emotional supports would have helped me at that time. You have to know where you are at, and what is importnat and meaningful for you. Don't feel like a failure if you don't do it naturally, but do be well informed of all the risks and benefits of any intervention. The more we intervene, the more problems we create. However, there are many positive and beautiful wasy to give birht, and each experience is unique for each person and with each baby.

I hope that helps a little... :)
I've read through some of the comments here and see a lot of insight, personal experiences and ideas alike.

I admire, and think it wise that you, author (ABP) are preparing yourself mentally for any and all scenarios. I think that's great. Because it's all too often that just one beautiful or horrific mental image of your birthing process is conjured. Best to stay open to all possibilities, but in the end to hope for the best.

I'd like to offer a different spin on the topic - here's what I think it means to "trust" your body (and this, like most of these responses, is based on my own experience - I had a home birth, which I only say to provide a stronger mental picture of what I am about to describe):
I "trusted" my body by assuming whatever position or do basically whatever I felt to be most comfortable to do during my labor. If I wanted to sit, stand, roll my hips on my exercise ball, lay down, moan, tap, sing, stomp, draw, you name it! I "trusted" that whatever felt natural to me is what I should do.

HOWEVER - I also had complete trust in my midwife and doula. Who was I to know anything about birth (other than to trust my intuition)? I'd never birthed before! I didn't know what was supposed to feel like what. :) Which is wear my birth team came in extremely handy. My doula made timely suggestions, such as when I needed to walk up and down the stairs to get my labor going again - my contractions had eased a bit and I was getting kind of punchy. She also suggested some awesome positions to get into that took less pressure of certain areas of my body depending on how my baby was positioned at the time.

The thing that I'm reading in this thread that I did a lot before my labor officially began is a LOT of thinking about how it's going to be. There is no way to imagine how your birth journey will be...and it's almost impossible not to think about how it will be. :)

So, I leave you with this...enjoy being pregnant! You're not going to be for much longer and there's only so much thinking about your birth that you can do. Think about how your baby feels in your belly. Laugh at the fact you can't see your toes very well or tie your shoes. Feel that ache in your back. Because none of it will be there for long, and as anxious as you are to have that baby, you're going to miss it being inside of you (or at least reminisce).

Best of luck to you!!
Will be 38 weeks this Wed/Thur and I'm still planning on skipping the meds with my hubby's support. I will be doing the birth thing in a hospital but I'm happy about that. My OB is part of a practice where each OB rotates into the schedule so that no doc is overworked/overtired and it's 'safer'--so truly I don't know who will be there for the delivery. In any case I'm hopeful and so far no real painful contractions or painful Braxton hicks...but anytime I have had any tightening or cramping I am HAPPY about it and do my best to relax and smile through them because of what they mean (getting closer to baby).... I feel mentally ready, I think!
Yay! Getting close!
More progress: At my 38 week appt today I was 3 cm dilated, 90% effaced, medium-soft cervix, 2+ station. Yay for painless progress =)



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