There is a book I have been meaning to read in preparation for labour Hyponobirthing : The Breakthrough Approach to Safer, Easier, Comfortable Birthing by Marie Mongan. I never come around to it because it sounds rather boring. Instead I go to the forums to find out the basic techniques.

The idea is quite simple and it is a little like how I deal with leg cramps. I always get leg cramps in my sleep when it is slightly cooler. In the past I would wake in a panic and try to massage it away. The key I discover, is to completely relax. The quicker it is I relax, the quicker the cramps go away. In hypnobirthing techniques you condition yourself to relax. I am not so sure that it results in a pain free labour but I think the sense of calm and control helps to not to increase the experience of pain rather than actually raising pain threshold.

Another thing I learn from the forum is affirmations for birth. It is repeat to yourself what you want to come true.

For instance:

      My baby and my body know what to do.
      I am calm and joyful about my birthing experience.
      I am relaxed, happy and at ease at the birthing of my baby.
      My baby works with my body for a smooth easy birth.
      I am confident and secure to handle whatever comes up.
      I breath correctly to eliminate tension.
      My baby is healthy and fully developed at birth.

I do feel less apprehension about the labour experience after writing these down. The situationist talks about values affirmation which made me think that the reason why affirmations work is because the focus on belief takes away stress and reinforces willpower.

I suppose this is why religion works: the belief and focus on values helps to manage a stressful life. Interesting.