Is Childbirth Inherently Frightening?
Let’s face it; childbirth is an inherently frightening event, but with a little preparation, you can go into your labor free of fear. There are many things that women report being afraid of: the pain, what to expect at the hospital, something being wrong with the baby, having their water break in a public place. The list can go on and on. While these are all valid concerns, understand that the cycle of fear and uncertainty can make the labor process longer and more painful.
The most important thing you can do to make your labor free of fear is to take away the element of the unknown. Learn as much as you possibly can about labor and delivery; understand what happens during each stage and what to expect along the way. Take a child-birthing class (ask your hospital or OB/gyn for a referral), read books and speak with your doctor about what will happen at the hospital. Getting as much information as you can before you go into labor will help alleviate many of your fears.
A birth plan is a great tool to help you plan your labor and make you feel more in control of the situation. But it’s very important to remember that your labor can change quickly and your well crafted birth plan may need to be changed as well. A woman who’s planning a strict intervention-free delivery may find that an emergency caesarean section is necessary. Or a woman who wants an epidural for pain relief may find that it doesn’t work on one side or as well as she’d like. Having a general idea of what you’d like happen during your delivery can help you face labor free of fear, but be open to the idea that your plan may need to change on the big day.