It should come as no surprise that most women experience some anxiety when thinking about their upcoming labor and delivery. This is especially likely if this is your first pregnancy; fear of the unknown is completely reasonable. You’ve likely seen some distressing depictions of labor and delivery in movies and on television, which can of course make the whole thing seem even scarier than it might already be. Below, we discuss five common fears about giving birth and hope to help dispel those fears a bit.
I don’t know what to do!
This is probably the most common concern when it comes to labor and delivery, and one that can be easily defeated with a little calm logic. After all, what woman does know what she’s doing the first time she delivers a baby? Women have been having babies for millenia — even if you don’t know exactly what to do, your body does. Trust your instincts. If you can’t trust your instincts, trust the professionals! You’ll be surrounded by nurses and doctors who help deliver babies every day. This is a life-changing event for you, yes, but for them it’s just another day at the office. Trust their expertise to help you through it.
I might tear.
Well… yes, you might. There’s not much getting around that as a possibility. Tears have always been a part of pregnancy. Not every woman tears during childbirth, but it’s not rare. That said, most women recover from tears easily, and recent research shows that women heal quickly and more easily from tears than from episiotomies. If this is a major concern for you, you might try perineal massages in the months leading up to your labor and delivery, but like most prep work, there’s no guarantee that it improves your chances.
What about C-sections?
C-sections take place in roughly 30 percent of pregnancies, so it’s entirely possible you might end up having one. However, keep in mind that while it is a surgery, it is a routine one that is done incredibly often, and your doctor and his nurses know exactly what they’re doing. To help ease your fears, take some time to look up c-section recovery tips so you can know what to prepare for.
Will I poop on the table?
Honestly, probably. However, as many women seem worried about this before their labor and delivery, when it actually happens, they very rarely care. After all, you’ll have a lot going on! Don’t try to do an enema before your delivery — just let nature take its course and trust your nurse to whisk it away quickly and discreetly.
I’m worried about the pain.
This is perfectly normal, and to be honest, you will be in some pain. The best way to mitigate this fear is to prepare for it. Plan ahead how you want to manage your pain — are you going to want soft music and a warm bath, or do you already know you’re going for an epidural? Let the nurses know your plan, but try to be flexible; everybody’s body handles pain differently, and there’s no medal for a “natural” birth. If you need pain medication for a trauma-free birthing experience, don’t be afraid to ask for it.