Continuing with this Brain Fitness book I picked up just before a long trip I was about to take. If you’ve been reading anything about childbirth then you know we are being asked not to use our ‘cognitive brain’ for childbirth but rather let the primal part guide us through labour. But does that makes sense? The introduction of the Brain Fitness book helps us to understand the link between our Mind and our life.

‘It seems almost unbelievable that the search for ways to enhance and preserve such a vital aspect of our ‘selves’ should have been so baly neglected for so long. After all the brain is not only the ‘control center’ of the body, it is the storehouse of our memories and the seat of all learning’. 


  • Because we have a cognitive brain we are able to learn birth and birth coaching skills even though we can’t practice them in simulated labour beforehand. When we learn appropriate skills, our cognitive brain actually knows that the skills make sense.
  • We store skills into our memory and can use them when labour unfolds which it will.
  • Humans unlike cats and other mammals have a cognitive brain that helps us to learn in a conscious manner. Learning birth skills, then applying them throughout labour gives us the opportunity to couple our skills to our body. If not then we tend to just react to sensations.

The introduction to this book goes on to say:

‘So, how can you stay cognitively fit? The first thing to do is let go of any fear that ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.’

What a great statement about childbirth!

Nothing new under the sun

People actually believe everything that needs to be written about natural vs medical childbirth is already written and everything that needs to be known is already known. That even goes for any birth skills you might know. Of course, there are some birth skills around through Lamaze, The Bradley Method, Hypnobirth or Active Birth and people don’t know there are other and more effective birth and birth-coaching skills.

The known skills-based systems mentioned above certainly work with the exact same human behaviors that we all use in labour … breathing, tension/relaxation, massage and even preparing our birthing body. However, these all tend to be seen as ‘techniques’ that people can choose to use and often don’t work in certain birth situations. But birth skills really are no longer part of the birth conversation, the focus is much more on gaining information in order to make ‘choices’ than on birth skills.

Certainly the word ‘choice’ actually engages our cognitive brain. Then why not use that same cognitive brain to use skills to prepare for childbirth and then use our cognitive brain and our skills in labour?

Perhaps the time isn’t right for there to be the same change that the introduction to Brain Fitness speaks about. At the present time, the media, birth professionals and consumers are not yet speaking about the importance of learning and using childbirth skills for both mothers and fathers.

Hopefully, the time will come soon. Then all expectant parents can go into whatever birth they have with a good cognitive brain full of birth and birth coaching skills.

Birthing Better skills are housed in Common Knowledge Trust, developed in the early 1970s by hundreds of moms and dads and used in every birth. All Birthing Better skills are available as online birthing classes.