Saturday, October 1, 2011

The silent knitting session or support of laboring woman by staying calm

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recently came to the conclusion that too many babies are born in hospitals. In other words, according to the college, it would be beneficial to increase the number of out-of-hospital births ( This would lead to a radical rethink of the selection and education of midwives. Outside hospitals, where women must rely entirely on the release of their natural hormones, the main preoccupation should be to protect the involuntary process of birth against situations that can inhibit it. Modern physiology can identify such situations, particularly those associated with a release of adrenaline, and those that stimulate the neocortex (the part of the brain highly developed among humans only).

The time is therefore ripe to underline the historical significance of one of the 27 workshops offered during the Mid-Pacific Conference on Birth and Primal Health Research (Honolulu, October 26–28, 2012). It will be called “The Silent Knitting Session.” The participants will realise at which point a repetitive task such as knitting (or, in Hawaii, making a wreath of flowers to be draped around the neck, for example) is an effective way to reduce the levels of adrenaline.

Since the release of adrenaline is highly contagious, the main preoccupation of an authentic midwife, after the paradigm shift, will be to maintain her own level of adrenaline as low as possible when she is close to a labouring woman. Midwives of the future will also need to train themselves to remain silent, since language is the most powerful stimulant of the neocortex. The silent knitting session will be a necessary step towards an understanding of what authentic midwifery is. We present it as the symbol of a vital new phase in the history of childbirth and midwifery.

— Michel Odent


  1. I was lucky in that I had a great birth the first time (although a bit stressful) and got exactly what I wanted the second time (two weeks ago).

    The second time I had a midwife who I saw all the way through the pregnancy, who was present during labour and who cared for me after, and I had an awesome waterbirth, with as little talking as possible and the lights turned down. It was very relaxing. And all this in a hospital.

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