Trauma and Birth

As a doula, I work with women on a regular basis to overcome birth trauma, whether it be:
  • fear of their own birth
  • fear of their past labor/birth experiences
  • fear of the current labor process
  • fear from sexual, physical, or relational abuse
  • fear from societal preprogramming
  • fear from cultural preprogramming
or any other source. You can replace "fear" with "anxiety", "anger", "sadness/grief" or any other word which more aptly resonates with your particular situation.

I have recently (as in, the last day) been looking into a new practice to help release these anxieties in reference to the birth process (though this practice can be used for any tension or fear). This practice is called EFT.

Here is as easy an explanation as I can come up with:

You, as the doula, would work with the mom to identify her fear or worry that she is having. She would then rate that fear/worry. You would then lead her in the 'script' by saying the acceptance statement. Then, leading her and working together, she would 'release' all fears/worries that she has attributed to this birth/issue. Finally, give a forgiveness statement and then fulfill with positive affirmations to replace those fears.

Very powerful and can be done in about 2 minutes time, from start to finish. This is enough time to do between contractions and still have time to prepare for the next contraction.

Here is a sample EFT script for the fear of pushing your baby out (thank you Sheridan).

1. Rate your level of fear/worry on a scale of 1-10

2. Start with KC (karate chop) while saying your set up statement.

"Even though I am afraid of pushing my baby out, I love and accept myself."

3. (Tap between eyebrows while saying) Releasing fears of birth

4. (Tap side of eye while saying) Releasing fears of pushing

5. (Tap under eye while saying) Releasing fear of baby being too big

6. (Tap under nose while saying) Releasing doubt

7. (Tap on chin while saying) Releasing anger/fear from last birth

8. (Tap between collar bones while saying) Releasing uncertainty.

9. (Tap under arm while saying) Releasing fear of tearing

10. (Tap top of head while saying) Releasing fear of failure

11. Now make a fist and put it by your heart and move it in a circle and say

"I forgive myself for these fears, I am doing the best that I know how."

12. Asses your level of fear/worry again... if it is still pretty high you can do steps 2-11 again.

Now we will tap in positive affirmations using the same tapping points.

13. (Tap between eyebrows while saying) I trust my body.

14. (Tap side of eye while saying) I can easily push my baby out.

15. (Tap under eye while saying) My perineum will stay intact as I push my baby out.

16. (Tap under nose while saying) My baby is the perfect size for me

17. (Tap on chin while saying) This is a new birth.

18. (Tap between collar bones while saying) My baby will be born healthy and at the perfect time for him/her

19. (Tap under arm while saying) My body knows how to birth this baby.

20. (Tap top of head while saying) I will have an enjoyable birth

These issues may not be yours regarding your pregnancy and birth so you can write your own script as well.

Here is a YouTube demonstration of the pressure points spoken about:

And here is the EFT in use:

Some may say 'wow, what a quack', while others may think it is a little too 'new age'.

But, in my estimation, there is nothing anti-Biblical in it, as it taps into acupressure points, uses positive affirmations, and works to reestablish trust.


Andrea said...

I've had wonderful results healing childhood issues with a therapist using EFT, as well as DNMS. (http://www.dnmsinstitute.com/). What I love about them is they allow me to use my relationship with God in my healing tools. Pretty effective stuff. :)

Anonymous said...

nicole, i personally have used EFT to help heal other life wounds. we put our hands over (not tapped) our 7 chakras, and it was interesting to note which chakra held which type of trauma. this is not something new, nor new agey, it's one type of therapy which has proven to be effective and even quick in the holistic health field. thank you for posting this, of course i can see now that it would also work with birth associated traumas for the momma too...and so glad to hear that this is something that doulas can learn to help their clients through.


ps. have i mentioned how much i enjoy your blog?!

Sarahthedoula said...

Hey Nicole.

So glad you wrote about this! I'm familiar with EFT, and have even used it with a Mom in labour who was dealing with a lot of fears. I love the birth script that you have posted here. Do you mind if I print it off to use?

fijimama said...

Hi Nicole,

First let me say that I love your blog and read it faithfully! I am a Christian birth advocate, and aspiring doula and childbirth educator. The concept of a scripted method for releasing birth-related fear is great, however I find some parts of this script to be humanistic in ways that don't mesh with a Biblical Christ-centered approach. What if we changed that set-up statement to "Even though I am afraid of pushing my baby out, God [and my husband, family, birth team] love, accept, and support me." Moving on, how about "I trust the Lord to carry my burdens and my fears, and I release them to Him again now. He created my body for this moment, and I trust him to guide me through. I trust Him for peace and safety for myself and the baby." What do you think about using these approaches in a script?

Nicole D said...

I love it. I had some qualms as well and the above script is only one possibility of the many ways it can be scripted. I really do like your suggestions though. Well thought, well put.

Sheridan said...

I too have used EFT personally and actually once during a birth I asked a mom if she wanted to try, she did and I think it helped her! I should go back and ask her what she thought.
Here is some more information and other links.

MereMortal said...

thank you for this informative, helpful, and intuitive method. i will keep in it my toolkit for births and releasing fears. for myself too!


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