Your pregnancy may be the most wondrous phase of your life, but as your due date approaches, expecting mothers often have distinct anxieties related to their labor and delivery. But hey!, no one said giving birth was going to be easy or stress free! And with so many different scenarios to prepare for and anticipate, it’s okay to feel a little overwhelmed. Whether it’s your first baby or your fourth, there are some facets of labor that can surprise you at the last moment. Be it an emergency C section or how long it takes you to dilate, no one can be completely prepared for the journey of childbirth. Now, we know you’ve had nine months to prepare at home and take precautions for everything that could go wrong; and although your concerns are valid, there is no need to get all worked up just yet. Some of the things you’ve been stressing about may turn out to be very normal occurrences during labor that the medical staff are more than prepared for.
So, let’s find out if these common labor fears are really worth the worry:
1. Fear: Not Being Able To Bear The Pain
We’ve all heard horror stories about how much being in labor can hurt and having nine months to imagine all the pain you’re going to be in, definitely doesn’t help! But is it really unbearable? No. Your body is much stronger than you give it credit for. After all, your body was made to go through the process of delivering your baby, which includes the pain. Your instincts will kick in and your body will take over like never before. Not to mention that your endorphins will flood your system once it’s crunch time.
However, there are times when the labor drags on for one too many hours and the pain has taken a toll on you. This is when you can avail yourself to various kinds of medical assistance including an epidural. If you want to go all natural and skip the meds all together, there are still alternative pain management techniques that you can try to alleviate the pain and pressure. This may include meditation and even hypnosis. Most birthing centers and hospitals are equipped with hot water tubs for labor and giving birth which reduces the intensity of labor pain. So, don’t worry, you’ve got a lot of options on standby to help you cope with the pain!
2. Fear: The Epidural
Let’s first clarify what an epidural is. An epidural injects anesthetics into the epidural space of your spine which blocks the pain in your body. This makes you numb from the waist down. This blocks your motor control, which in return aids in a smooth delivery (1). And although it can essentially look like a huge, daunting needle going into your back, it may not be all that bad. For starters, since it goes into your back, you may not even get a chance to see it. And as for the pain of the needle going in, your doctor will apply some antiseptic, which numbs the area before they administer the epidural.
Besides, you’re barely going to register it with everything else going on. Your labor pain and contractions will keep you plenty occupied. But be sure to communicate your fears with your doctors so that they can make you feel comfortable and keep you as calm as possible.
3. Fear: Pooping While Pushing
Pooping while you are giving birth might seem like the most embarrassing, mortifying thing that could happen to you, but it is very common and doctors are very used to it. In fact, they anticipate it. Although it may seem horrible right now, with everything happening down there, a little bit of poop won’t even cross your radar. You are going to be focused on bearing the pain and pushing a baby out of your vagina successfully. Not to mention that the entire team of doctors, nurses, your partner and whoever else is in the delivery room with you are going to keep you distracted. Your baby’s safety is going to be in the forefront of your mind and everything else, including feelings of shame and embarrassment will take a back seat. What matters most now is delivering your little bundle of joy safely into the world!
4. Fear: Tearing
A lot of women have a fear of their vagina tearing during pregnancy and needing stitches. Although some tearing is inevitable if you deliver vaginally, it’s no cause for concern. You will get one of two kinds of tears. First degree tears or superficial tears are considerably small and you may not require any stitches at all. Second degree tears go a little deeper and will reach the muscle beneath the surface. This will require a couple of stitches and take a while to heal so go easy on your body. As for extreme tears like intense third and fourth degree tears, they happen very rarely to a tiny percent of women during delivery. They are usually the result of an episiotomy that didn’t go as planned (2). If you are planning to avoid an episiotomy all together, make sure to voice out your concerns and boundaries to your doctor before it’s time for the delivery.
Labor may seem daunting and scary but it does not have to be. Communicate with your doctors and trust your body. So, is there something more about delivery that scares you? Let us know in the comments section!
P.S Don’t worry, you’ve got this!