So you’re having a baby! What great news! I’m sure you’re excited just thinking of all the cooing and the snuggles and that precious new baby smell but the thought of actually physically having the baby is more than a little nerve-wracking, it’s downright scary. If you’ve got a fear of childbirth, you’re not alone. The majority of mothers in the world have this very same fear. So don’t stress! You’ve come to the right place. Read on to see what you can do to get rid of your worries.
1. Educate yourself.
Knowing what you may be in for is half the battle. That way when the doctors, midwives, or nurses say something like ‘breech’, ‘episiotomy’ or ‘forceps’ you will know what they’re talking about and you will be able to make an educated decision.
Taking prenatal classes can be very helpful to educate yourself, as can reading the right books. Some books are negative and focus on what can go wrong during childbirth, so if you are already a nervous person be sure to read books that put your mind at ease as opposed to those that make you more nervous.
Knowing what is going on with your body (the phases of cervical dilation) as well as how things could play out (natural delivery, assisted delivery or C-section) will put you at a huge advantage to help get rid of your fear of childbirth. When you educate yourself be sure to take potential situations as information and not as what’s going to happen to you. Try to avoid googling negative birth stories and try and surround yourself with people who have had positive birthing experiences.
2. Have a flexible birth plan.
Find some things you are comfortable with, and know what you are unwilling to negotiate with. Write them down so that you, your birth partner, and anyone attending to you can be on the same page when it comes to labour and delivery.
Be reasonable with your birth plan. Everyone needs to be prepared for the possibility of an emergency C-section. Does this mean that you shouldn’t plan for a vaginal birth if that’s what you want? No. Just be flexible and realize that your birth plan may need to change to meet your needs and the baby’s. Remember, you want what is best for both of you.
3. Prepare for pain.
Let’s face it, pain is what most people are the most scared of when it comes to childbirth. Is it going to be painful? Yes. Are you going to get through it? Absolutely. The following suggestions are some ways to help you through contractions and pushing. As with anything be sure to listen to your body, you will now what feels good and what
4. Possible medical interventions.
The following medical interventions are all possible during childbirth: epidurals, gas, and topical freezing for episiotomies. All of these things are options you have. If you know you have a low pain threshold you may want to plan to have an epidural in your birth plan. Just realize that, as with any medicine, there can be side effects to any medicine used to regulate pain during childbirth. Be sure to research these options to know what they entail so you can make an educated choice that works for you.
5. Use the power of breathing.
When a contraction hits, your initial reaction may be to curse a string of expletives, but if you are able to remain calm and breathe your way through it you are more likely to keep your pain in check.
Holding your breath during contractions isn’t advised. There are different breathing techniques so try out different ones (before you are actually in labour) so you have a few to pull from when you need it most for your pain.
6. Try some calming music.
Listening to calming music, or soothing affirmations can help your mind tell your body to bring the pain level down. Consider making a playlist to have when you go into labour and be sure there is a way to play it – either speaker or via headphones.
7. Make sure you are in a good position.
Think outside the bed; of course you use different positions in bed too but if that isn’t working consider getting up and moving around. Doing prenatal yoga can both loosen up your limbs in preparation for delivery as well as offer some positions that may help you become more comfortable in labour.
Some poses to try include the Cat/Cow pose when you are on all fours or frog pose where you are in a crouch can help bring baby down, but be sure to have something to brace yourself on. Being on a birthing ball can be a very relaxing place for some women in labour. Even trying sitting or leaning up against the bed.
8. Use pressure as you need it.
Having your birthing partner offer counter pressure by pushing on your back as you go through a contraction can bring pain relief. Having a sock full of tennis balls to push your back against (on the wall) can also give soothing pressure.
9. Introduce some water.
Being in a birthing tub or pool can be very soothing for a woman in labour, as can the gentle pressure of a shower. And of course this is a good time to also mention staying hydrated. Be sure to take little sips of water often to help you through the labour.
10. Being comfortable in general.
Delivering a baby isn’t likely to be the most comfortable thing you’ve ever done, but trying to be comfortable in general can help with the pain. If you’re hot, get someone to bring you ice to chew on or a cold compress for your forehead. If you feel cold (which is a possible side effect of epidurals) put on socks or an extra blanket.
11. Believe in the power of your body.
Women’s bodies were build to house, nourish and deliver babies. Trust that your body knows what it’s doing and that by being calm, in control, and persistent you will have a good labour and delivery.
That being said it is also very important to listen to the wise words of doctors, nurses and midwives. This article is not intended as a substitute for sound medical advice. If at any point in your pregnancy, labour or delivery you are unsure of what to do next, be sure to consult a health care professional.
Women have been having babies since the dawn of ages, all around the world. And you are about to join that Mommy club! Set your fear of childbirth aside and know that your body knows what to do. Educate yourself on childbirth and believe in yourself. You can do it. And the precious little one you will get to hold in your arms when it’s all through makes it all worthwhile.