15 ways to stop you worrying about labour
Try not to get worried about giving birth. In fact, it’s likely to be a lot more straightforward if you know how to relax beforehand, says midwife Anne Richley.
If you’re constantly telling yourself that you’re frightened of birth, then you will be, so think positively. You should look forward to labour and birth and meeting your baby with excitement. Everyday, try saying to yourself, “I’m so excited about going into labour!” It really will help!
Birth is more frightening if you don’t have good support. Consider having two birth partners: a mum who’s already been through birth can be great for lessening your fears.
What precisely are you afraid of? Discuss your specific fears with your midwife, who will be able to give you practical tips on reducing the risks of various procedures.
Don’t panic, we’re not talking about working up a sweat in the gym. You can do something as simple as taking a brisk walk. Exercise makes your body release endorphins, your natural ‘feel-good’ chemicals, which relieve anxiety and make you feel more energetic. Also, did you know that physically fit women often have more stamina when it comes to birth, and they recover more quickly.
Mums-to-be sometimes worry about not being listened to during labour. If some aspects of your care are particularly important to you, put them in your birth plan and make sure you give a copy to whoever is caring for you in labour.
Nothing is ever as bad as you imagine it to be. Find out about antenatal classes from your midwife or through the National Childbirth Trust, and I bet you’ll find a lot of your fears are unfounded.
‘Doula’ literally means ‘a woman care-giver’. The term has evolved to mean someone who is experienced in childbirth who provides support to another woman during and after her birth. Many mums-to-be find that having a doula to support them through labour makes the whole experience a more positive one.
Hypnotherapy classes, such as Hypnobirthing, teaches relaxation, breathing and visualisation techniques that will help control your fear, tension and pain.
Try having a water birth. Evidence suggests that it’s the next best thing to an epidural in terms of pain relief.
Anne Richley, midwife
I’d recommend Childbirth Without Fear, by Dr Grantly Dick-Read (Pinter & Martin), first published in 1933 and still widely read today. Birth hypnotherapy draws on his theory that fear and tension have an enormous impact on labour, causing pain in 95% of women. He believed you can eliminate labour pain by taking away fear and tension.
The thought of not being in control frightens lots of women, so it’s important you feel that you have the power during your pregnancy and birth. Make sure you’re involved in any decisions and that you have as much as information as possible so that you can make informed decisions.
“My midwife told me to stop talking about the ‘delivery’, as it sounded like I was going to have a pizza or a parcel. Instead I had to talk about ‘birth’. It sounds daft but it worked. Over the weeks I felt more in control and positive about everything, as it was about me giving birth, not other people ‘delivering’ my baby.”
Joelle, 30, mum to Freddie, 10 weeks
“I was really worried about hallucinating on pethidine and making a complete fool of myself. When I told my midwife, she said that she’d never seen that happen in 30 years in the job, which made me feel so much better!”
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