Shaking and the Primal Nature of Birth, with Lesley Everest

You may have heard that uncontrollable shaking is a very common part of labor and immediate postpartum. But is there a neurological purpose to all this shaking? And is the management of the third stage of labor, truncating the resolution, down-regulation, and integration of the primal birth process, basically messing with neurological completion? Lesley Everest shares her thoughts. Go listen.


Listen directly through our website player, or however you usually listen to podcasts.


What we talked about:

  • What does the nervous system have to do with birth?
  • The need for down-regulation and integration
  • Oxytocin’s role
  • Parallels between the stages of labor and the basic sexual response chart (according to Masters and Johnson’s Model of Sexual Response)
  • Trauma as a nervous system injury
  • Why the uninhibited nature of birth?
  • The imperative to connect and trust
  • Be mindful of the trauma
  • The primal shrill when baby emerges
  • A doula’s musings with four plausible hypothesis
  • “The little death” of the French orgasm
  • After intensity comes resolution for neurological completion
  • What should happen during the third stage?
  • The problem with “take your baby”
  • Is it dissociation?
  • Take the time to claim your baby
  • Is there more to all that shaking?
  • Bringing baby back to the regulating drum
  • Shakes for integration
  • The neurological story of the impala
  • Suggestions for birth in a managed setting
  • Claiming your parenthood
  • In case of a Cesarean birth


Helpful resources & links*:


Related Birthful episodes:



Courtesy of Lesley Everest

About Lesley Everest

Lesley Everest has been a doula for 26 years. She is the founder of MotherWit Doula Care in Montreal and Ottawa, Canada as well as MotherWit Birth and Postpartum Doula Training which she teaches around North America. Lesley’s education and professional background in many forms of somatic/emotional support therapies and interspiritual ministry informs her work as well as her own birth and parenting experiences of four kids. Birth continues to be Lesley’s best teacher. She believes a family’s birth journey matters deeply, serving as a transformational event that has the power to shape early parenting and impact the health of our nervous systems. Lesley’s diplomatic and collaborative nature has made her a sought after speaker in the North American birth conference circuits, as well as a facilitator of workshops geared towards skills building for medical care providers.



Title music:Vibe Aceby Kevin MacLeod, from the Free Music Archive / CC BY (edited for length).

Sponsorship music:Air Hockey Saloon” by Chris Zabriskie, from the Free Music Archive / CC BY (edited for length).


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