Every mother-to-be grapples with some or the other fear- the fear of pregnancy complications, fear of birth defects and even the fear of childbirth. However, it has been studied that a vast majority of women dread the prospect of labor and delivery more than anything else.
You may have tried to conquer this fear with a childbirth plan. It makes you feel more prepared. But, you also doubt if your childbirth plan will fit the situation when the actual time comes. After all, childbirth can be unpredictable and you’ve read numerous stories of how even the best-laid plans can go awry.
There is no need to get scared. We will help you calm your fears on childbirth. Use these tips to feel confident and in control on the D-day.
Solutions to Common Birth Fears
What if the Labor pains are too bad?
This fear troubles first time mothers more than those who have already been there before. It is difficult to imagine what labor pain is like and it is also impossible to pacify yourself saying that it will be painless.
Labor pain is intense. However, it does not mean that you suffer silently. You should ask for pain medication when the pain becomes intolerable. It keeps you more relaxed and comfortable during childbirth and eases delivery. You can also take childbirth classes. They prepare you to cope with labor pains.
What if labor lasts too long?
There are stories of women who were in labor for more than 30 hours. Sounds horrifying! But, the truth is the doctor won’t usually let labor progress beyond 20 hours. If labor stalls for some reason, the doctor will decide a method to augment labor again.
What if I lose control during labor?
Many women pee or poop during labor and delivery. A few even curse out aloud in pain. Well, luckily for us women, nurses, midwives and obstetricians are accustomed to it and will not get offended. You can opt for an enema in the early stages of labor if you are very concerned about losing bowel control.
What if the baby is in distress?
You should not stress yourself about the condition of the baby during delivery and labor. The doctor or midwife monitors the health and performance of the baby throughout labor and delivery. They able detect a distress signal instantly and act promptly. In case of problems such as the mother is too tired to push, the doctor will consider assisting delivery with the help of forceps or a ventouse.
What if the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck?
This is a common situation, but is also easy to handle. If the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck, your baby won’t get strangled. Once delivered, the doctor will simply loop it over the baby’s neck or clamp it if it is tightly secured (second very rare).
What if I require an emergency C-section?
This is a valid concern. Sometimes on account of last minute pregnancy complications many women who have initially decided to have a vaginal birth may have to undergo an emergency C-section. It is disappointing, but at that stage you have no other option. The best way to be prepared is to read up on C-section deliveries. This way you will know what to expect.
What if the baby rests in an awkward and inconvenient position?
In the last weeks of pregnancy, the doctor will try to determine the position of the baby. The normal position is the head down with the back against your stomach. If the baby is in the breech position, the doctor may offer to turn him manually by a procedure called External Cephalic Version. However, if the position is very awkward and is determined at the time of labor, doctors may suggest an emergency C-section.
What if I have to have an episiotomy?
Expectant women opting for a natural birth are more concerned about this. They fear the perineum may tear at the time of delivery. Most tears in the perineum are superficial and heal with proper care. You can prevent tears in the perineum by strengthening the muscles with Kegel exercises. Besides, speaking about an episiotomy, the doctor will not do it unless absolutely necessary.
What if I die during delivery?
Many expectant women are terrified by the fact that they may die during delivery or may be paralyzed by an epidural gone wrong. You can relax. With advancement in technology, the number of maternal deaths during delivery has dropped significantly. However, if you still find it hard to convince yourself, talk to your obstetrician or take labor classes. They will counsel you on the same.
What if you don’t make it in time to the hospital?
Women fear that they may not reach in time to the hospital or they might deliver in the car. This will happen only if you wait till the last minute to go to the hospital. The possibility of such births is less than 1%. However, this may happen to women who have quick labors. Stay prepared, read books on what to do in case of emergency births. And, if it does happen to you, stay calm.
Thus, to sum it up, write down your fears and discuss it with your doctor or midwife. Consider the “what if” scenarios as a preparatory measure and not something that will increase your fears. Keep your birth plan flexible. Explore your options. Be calm and practice various relaxation techniques. Everything will go fine.