If you have ever labored to bring a baby into the world, you know what a workout it can be, and you know how in-tune with your body you must be, especially if you want to be in good shape for a natural, drug-free childbirth. Well, over coffee with Lisa Johnson, a dear woman whom I literally met in the delivery room as I pushed my daughter earthside, we began talking about this very issue. Is being under the influence of synthetic hormones (a.k.a. birth control pills) suppressing women’s mind/body connection during pregnancy, labor, and birth?
My amazing birth-expert friend Lisa is a Lamaze certified childbirth educator (LCCE) and an International board-certified lactation consultant (IBCLC). Lisa has made some interesting observations that fly in the face of modern thought about giving young girls IUD’s or putting them on the pill for the sake of controlling their cycles so they can compete or avoid pain. Lisa also has an M.A. in Human Development with a specialization in Lactation Consulting and Natural Family Planning – Sympto Thermal Method Trained. She works for a reputable local hospital here in my area, and here is what she wrote for our blog.
Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to be a judgement of women who are on birth control, or of mothers who choose to put their daughters on the pill for various reasons. The pill is a consumed product, and anything that affects the mind-body connection gets our attention. -BL
Lisa writes… “Many women from a young age are prescribed artificial estrogen and progestin hormones for various reasons. These synthetic hormones end up driving their bodies cycles and suppresses normal hormone and body functioning monthly. Many women are on the pill before being old enough to come into their own and before they have formed some body awareness. These women struggle to remember how their body felt at various stages of their cycle “pre pill.”
“So what is the big deal? This lack of awareness and connection sets many newly pregnant moms up for distrust of their body and the pregnancy/birth process early on. They have been under the influence of synthetic hormones for so long they do not know what their body is designed to do on it’s own and how amazingly equipped their bodies are for pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Many times I see that this can lead to fear in women.
“Over the years of teaching, when asking moms to relate to normal biological signs or symptoms during ovulation and before menses, many are unable to relate. [they feel uncomfortable or simply do not know enough to discuss discharges, cervical os, temperature, energy levels, and more]
“What has been the shared theme for most of these women? They were put on the pill at an early age and stopped right before getting pregnant. This disconnect for these women breeds fear in many – a distrust in their bodies and the process they are about to embark on.
“Seeing this time and time again, my quest as a childbirth educator and a birth supporter is to somehow find a way to reconnect them to their bodies and help them see how they were designed to carry a baby for 9-10 months and then deliver their baby. This can help lead them to a place of trust in their body and baby!
“Maybe synthetic hormones use and this lack of body awareness and self-trust is only one piece of the puzzle. Nevertheless, it is something I have observed to play a role in my years of working with women. I also know this: The women who just intuitively “know” they can birth their babies, have much less fear, and have much more spiritually connected, satisfying birth experiences.
“I believe all expectant moms want that positive experience, but what are the barriers to these positive outcomes? Perhaps synthetic hormones are one barrier to powerful, joyful births for some moms-to-be!”
Bethany’s Bottom Line: As a “green” business that deals with physical motion and the mind-body connection, we felt this was worth a discussion because of how “the pill” affects women’s fitness. Bottom line, the pill is not “natural” or “organic,” but it does have a powerful ability to harness a woman’s body, and we need to be wise with what we put into our bodies. A bandaid over today’s problems might mean more problems later. What are your thoughts? If you took the pill as a teenager or grown woman, did you notice a disconnect with your self?