Having a baby is arguably the most significant thing that will ever occur in your life and that of your partner and it is understandable that you will feel a range of emotions, particularly as the date of your baby’s birth approaches. You will hopefully, by now, feel excited and keen to meet your baby but you may also be feeling anxious, perhaps even a little afraid of what is to come, which is partly, of course, due to fear of the unknown. No one knows what will happen during labor because it is so unpredictable – even if you have had several other children, every labor is different. You will probably be intrigued about what the experience will be like and may be wondering if you will be able to cope with labor contractions – especially if friends and relatives have told you ‘horror’ stories about their own experiences.
You will obviously also be concerned for your baby – despite anything that may happen during the labor you will want him/her to be born alive and well. Remember, however, that childbirth is a natural, normal life event and will, in the majority of women, proceed without any problems. Statistically, you have about a 70 per cent chance of having your baby normally without any complications. If you are basically fit and healthy and your pregnancy has progressed well, it is highly likely that your labor will proceed normally – and if you do have any specific medical or pregnancy problems, you will obviously want to have the best care available to ensure that your baby is all right.
Prepare yourself Mentally and Physically
It is important to prepare yourself for the birth, but you will be pleased to know that nature takes a hand to make the ‘run up’ to the ‘big day’ a little easier. As labor gets closer, pregnancy hormone levels, which have prevented your uterus from contracting, start to decrease, allowing labor hormones to be produced. This makes your Braxton Hicks contractions (painless pregnancy contractions which aid flow of oxygen to your baby) stronger as your uterus becomes ‘irritable’ in readiness for labor. At the same time your body’s stress hormone levels change and the ‘feel good’ chemicals increase, making you feel mentally more prepared for the impending birth and better able to cope with it. This seems to be nature’s way of helping us towards labor. It is probable, in any case, that you will, by now, be so fed up with being pregnant and so desperate to meet your baby face-to-face that labor and the birth eventually become a welcome release from the discomforts and uncertainties of pregnancy. Additionally, although many mothers worry about coping with labor, contractions should never be worse than your body can cope with. If you do find it difficult to cope, there are several ways in which your midwife or therapist can help you to feel more comfortable.
If this is not your first baby, it is also natural for you to think about previous birth experiences, both good, and perhaps not so good. First labors are usually the longest, but every labor and birth is different. If you had complications in a previous labor, you may be wondering whether they will occur again, for example if you will need another Caesarean section or forceps delivery. Talk to your midwife or obstetrician and ask as many questions as possible to help set your mind at rest. If you are particularly concerned, it can be useful to seek professional help to ‘de-brief about your previous experiences before you go into labor this time.
Childbirth is the most fundamental human activity, which aims to continue the human race.
It is normal in the vast majority of women – it is what your body is designed to do.
Childbirth is an emotionally charged event, which evokes many differing feelings in each of the people present at the birth, some of which are instantaneous and short-lived whilst others will bring lifelong memories. Some people may experience emotions based on their own previous life experiences, and sometimes feelings become so overwhelming that they elicit physical manifestations, causing completely unexpected reactions. It is certainly not unusual for those present at the birth of a baby to shed a tear or feel choked by emotion. Conversely, the intensity of the event and the anxiety experienced by many onlookers, particularly the partner, can cause some to display uncharacteristically negative emotions such as anger, irritability or rudeness. This is normal and not unexpected (even if it can occasionally make things difficult).
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Dawn is a keen mom blogger who enjoys writing on topics such as pregnancy, parenting, children, relationships or any subject matter in relation to mums.