Why a Mountain?

What’s the deal with the pictures of mountains? And how can they have anything to do with labour & birth? Well, let me tell you all about it!

Have you ever climbed a mountain? If you have, you know that it’s hard work. If you haven’t, it’s hard work! The rocky terrain, the peaks and valleys, the importance of breath, and the sense of relief once you reach the summit. Would it shock you to know that climbing a mountain can be used as a metaphor for labour & birth?

Just like climbing a mountain, the stages of labour follow a linear and escalating trend. The first stage of labour, Early Labour, begins our ascent up the mountain and can last anywhere from 12-24 hours. This will be the longest stretch of the journey, but crucial cervical changes will take place here, and you will be encouraged to rest if at all possible. The second stage of labour, Active Labour, takes us up a very steep part of the mountain and lasts between 6-10 hours. This is where you will need to take deep meaningful breaths, focus on your ‘climb’, and try to relax during each contraction. The third stage of labour, Transitional Labour, is the final stretch of the mountain that takes us up to its peak. This stage is the steepest part, where you will become your most primal, your most irrational, and your most vulnerable. This stage will last anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours. Pushing is the very peak of the mountain, the accumulation of everything you have been working for, the pay off for your entire climb up the mountain – it’s time to meet your baby! This stage will last between 30 minutes to 3 hours.

Stages of Labour

To me, a mountain symbolizes strength, beauty, and a natural progress, which is why I chose it to represent Courtney The Doula. What does a mountain mean to you?

*For more details on the stages of labour, stay tuned for PDF printable handouts*

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