ARTICLE by Charlotte Gelstharp

How Female Bodies Prepare for Childbirth

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B_for_Blog | Natural Baby Shower

Ever wondered how the amazing female body prepares to bring a baby into this world? Well we asked our friends at the Underwood Baby Academy to shine some light on what your body will go through as it prepares for childbirth and what you can expect.

The Underwood Baby Academy are a team of field experts and midwives that offer a comprehensive range of informative classes, social groups, and realistic support for parents and parents-to-be during pregnancy and until your baby reaches 9 months old. You can find out more information on their personalised midwifery support here.

How do female bodies adapt for childbirth


By Julie Watson of the Underwood Baby Academy.

Our bodies are truly amazing, we have evolved to support and facilitate the wonder that is birth. Women who have chosen the Underwood Baby Academy to support them through pregnancy, birth and beyond will very often question their own ability to birth. How will I know what to do? What will I have to learn? What will I have to buy to help me birth? All legitimate and frequently asked questions, anxieties that take up a woman’s thinking time and can distract her from what her body already knows. You see ‘birth’ is not something women learn to do.... ‘birth’ is something all women are designed to achieve.

The amazing adaptations are endless and many a book has been penned outlining them all, but to let you into a few of these well-kept secrets, here a few of the little gems.

How do female bodies prepare for childbirth

In labour, our neocortex, or the thinking part of our brain switches itself off, this encourages the flood of essential hormones, it makes us less aware of time and enables us to be more focused, all of these benefits, together, will support us during our labour and will dampen down stress, which in turn keeps adrenaline at bay.

As our pregnancy progresses our blood volume increases by an extra 30%, this is to support the nourishment of our little ones and to ensure they are thriving. The other wonderful alteration to support nourishment is the increase in progesterone which relaxes the smooth muscles, this has a direct impact on how quickly our gut works, slowing everything down to give more time for the essential nutrients to be absorbed.

Our pelvis is not the solid, immovable cylinder we might have envisaged, instead what it is, is a structure made up of three bones. This means it can be a movable space through which our babies descend as they move from their first home to the forever home.

Our baby’s skull is not the same solid structure we have as adults, it is made of five bones that are able to slide over one another as our babies navigate their way through the pelvis.

Our ligaments, muscles and skin need to become more stretchable and accommodating, so at about 34 weeks a surge of relaxin is released to do just that.

How do female bodies prepare for childbirth

Our babies are attached to their womb buddy, the placenta, by their umbilical cord. This cord is home to the vessels that will carry oxygen and nutrients to our baby and to ensure these vessels are protected from harm the cord is coated by a substance called Wharton’s Jelly, a thick mucous like substance which protects and insulates the cord.

As our surges come and go during labour our body creates endorphins which simply reduce pain and boosts pleasure, both of which are incredibly helpful as we navigate labour and birth.

As we welcome our babies our bodies produce a cocktail of hormones that cause us to feel love and protection that continues forever.

All in all, we women are truly, bloody amazing and all of us have it within us to birth.