Guest Post: How Birth Control Affects Birthing

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?

This is me with my little girl just after she was born naturally in a hospital – 12 hour labor. The author of this article witnessed her 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?

9 thoughts on “Guest Post: How Birth Control Affects Birthing

  1. Katie says:

    Very interesting article. I have a lot of things against the pill (although I am agreement with your statement. I don’t condemn others for using it; I just will not.) Not taking the pill did not keep me from eventually having two c-sections though. But I do think there is a lot of truth about “knowing your body” and its ability to give birth.

  2. Jean Kelsey says:

    Great post Bethany and I appreciate the insight to the Pill! I was on the pill forever it seemed. When I birthed my first so many things were going on that they put a monitor in her head while still in me *fun is* and I couldn’t give what was need to get her moving, she was stuck…eventually all was fine but WOW that was hard work. I am not an advocate of pill anything and am thankful to be off all my medications now focusing on organic and natural. HUGE difference in the way I feel and life is now. I spend my time educating my kids and am feeding them healthier foods than I was ever eating at that age and do hope that it helps them as they grow and possibly want to have kids. I believe it will! The whole idea of birth control pills and the synthetic ‘stuff’ is a big worry on what it is doing to anyone’s body. Thanks for sharing Lisa’s information with us.

  3. Nisha @ Healthy Mom's Kitchen says:

    This is really interesting. I hadn’t thought about hormonal birth control being a cause for mind-body disconnect, but I can definitely relate. I was on birth control when I got married and up until we started trying for our first. My pregnancy and delivery with her was terrible.

    I decided to not go back on birth control after our first was born and I can’t even tell you how much more healthier I was without it and very much so because of the mind-body connection. I was extremely healthy with my second pregnancy and had a natural delivery and couldn’t believe how quick recover was. Thanks for sharing your perspective!

  4. Fatin khawarizmi says:

    I did not take pills at all and I am wondering how it is the felling when we stuck our body with foreign hormones?! no animal females are taking pills why should we?
    great post Beth 😉

  5. Lydia says:

    Highly informative article, I am so glad you took the time educating others on this – I work with a mind-body approach and it is so relevant, especially since it seems that young women take hormonal pills at an ever younger age, and do not understand the impact this has on their body. So important to put this out there!!
    Thanks, Bethany!

  6. Brienna says:

    I started taking the pill at about 18.5 – 19 years of age. Somewhere around in there. I haven’t had children but I hated the way it made me feel. For several years, I just thought it was the normal hormonal process of being a woman. I was moody and irritable at what seemed like random times, not just during “that time of the month”. It wasn’t until my husband deployed overseas and I let me BC prescription lapse that I realized it was the pill making me feel that way. When he came home, I started over but explained to my gyno how I was feeling and she put me on a super low dose (at the time it was the lowest dosage hormonal BC on the market, not sure about now) and that did make a huge difference but I’m definitely looking forward to coming off of it. I hope to be able to be off of it for several months before getting pregnant to try to find that natural rhythm again. I can’t imagine how it would affect a girl that has barely even hit puberty yet! I think we, as a society, are too quick to seek out “convenience” without really taking into consideration or even knowing the consequences.

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