Ina May Gaskin, the mother of modern midwifery, has coined a term called “The Sphincter Law”. The Sphincter Law states:
Your sphincters (including your excretory, cervical and vaginal) are responsible for releasing your baby into this world. If your sphincters are tight you may not progress, and you will probably experience more pain.
So what exactly is Ina May’s “Sphincter Law”?
1. Excretory, cervical (your cervix), and vaginal sphincters function best in an atmosphere of intimacy and privacy.
2. These sphincters cannot be opened at will and do not respond well to commands such as push or relax!
3. When a person’s sphincter is in the process of opening, it may suddenly close down if that person becomes upset, frightened, humiliated, or self conscious. Why? High levels of adrenaline in the bloodstream prevent the opening of sphincters.
4. The state of relaxation of the mouth and jaw is directly correlated to the ability of the cervix, the vagina, and the anus to open to full capacity.
Did you catch that? In other words,
Open Mouth=Open Cervix
Open Throat=Open Vagina
It is near impossible to birth effectively with tightly pursed lips and a closed off throat. Go ahead, try it right now….when you relax your jaw, open your mouth and open your throat, your bottoms automatically relaxes and sinks into your chair. Ina May talks about the benefits of kissing, and keeping the lips and mouth lose and open. Kissing also releases the “love hormone” and endorphins that raise your pain tolerance level and speeds your birth along.
The use of rebozzo can also help to relax and loosen tension within your pelvis as demonstrated wonderfully here by my friend and pregnancy masseuse Lyn Hamilton.
So get the conditions right for a wonderful birth!