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Birthing Consciously: The 5 Phases of Each Contraction

By Wintergreen

Within the time frame of giving birth, the relationship you had with your baby will profoundly change. Previously, your body’s job was to nourish and protect your baby. As your baby announces more and more strongly its desire to be born, you will increasingly focus on the arrival of the next contraction, how long it lasts, and how sensitive each one is. Your body’s job now is to let your baby out, and your mental job is to work with your baby’s efforts to do so. 

In a real sense, your baby’s efforts to be born capture your full, undivided attention. During the early part of labor, when contraction pain is not intense, you will still be aware of everything around you but will begin to live within the 5 phases of each contraction. This is the time for you to use skills to consciously move through each phase. 

As your cervix dilates, thus increasing the pain, you will be much less attentive to the familiar sense of the environment around you, yet each moment will highlight the activity that your baby is stimulating in your body. The growth in internal sensations will bring you deeper into yourself. This is where the 5 phases become much more pronounced and your ability to use skills within each phase heightens. As one woman said, “I could have given birth on the main street square and not noticed anyone or cared.”

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