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Should I watch One Born Every Minute if I have a labour phobia?

(62 Posts)
DueinFeb Sun 07-Oct-12 14:56:20

I have always avoided all labour information (childbirth not the political party), details, facts and images - If it comes on the tv I turn over and if a friend starts describing the horrific facts of someone's experience I change the subject. I really am ignorant of what is involved in the process and never thought I would need to know. Now my own labour is approaching (at age of 30) and I am absolutely terrified. shock

I turned OBEM on the other day and watched 5 minutes - in which I saw two ladies violently vomiting into cardboard bowls - which really didn't help my fear! My Q - should I watch a full episode? Will it make me feel better or worse? Or is ignorance bliss when it comes to labour? I also haven't been to any classes. I am scared of the pain and the indignity of it all. I have never spent any time in a hospital, never been seriously ill, never had an operation. I am the sort of person who wouldn't get changed in front of other women in a swimming changing room - so the idea of being that exposed is, to put it plainly, petrifying.
Should I bite the bullet and watch it or just stay safe in the dark till D-Day? Only supportive answers please - "PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER YOU DAFT COW" not helpful grin.

NervousAt20 Sun 07-Oct-12 15:00:30

I'm 36w and I use to watch OBEM all the time but since I've been pregnant I just can't, I sit there trying to cross my legs tighter and tighter grin I have made DP watch it and I'm glad I did because he actually had no clue of anything and I know he would have freaked out completely when I'm in labour and now he'll be more understanding and not as horrified. I actually found a birthing class really helpful and glad I went an it made me realise how clueless I am/was

Don't think anything I've said will help you make a decision but you could try smile

DueinFeb Sun 07-Oct-12 15:08:04

Nervousat20 I nearly spat out my orange juice at the thought of you 'crossing your legs tighter and tighter' - I think I would be the same! If I ever see anything involving birth - even if it's all glamourous and airbrushed on soaps (completely unrealistic and 2 minutes long!) I get a horrible feeling down below - I think it's probably the same feeling a man gets when he sees another man get a swift kick in the bollocks!

plantsitter Sun 07-Oct-12 15:14:07

I would watch, because knowing what happens or what might happen, and what is normal and what you can expect can help enormously with fear. Better to be prepared (in my opinion).

Only thing is the maternity wards seem a lot nicer than the one I gave birth in twice so it's worth checking what the place you're giving birth will be like in terms of what they do/who can be with you when/ etc.

One thing I like about OBEM is the way they convey that there is a lot of waiting... and waiting...

DueinFeb Sun 07-Oct-12 15:22:03

Thanks plantsitter - the show is actually filmed at the hospital I will be going to - ironically.

forgottenpassword Sun 07-Oct-12 15:25:52

Depends which episode I would say. Obem is entertainment at the end of the day and so they pick births which are dramatic or interesting I imagine. Some will be chosen because the mum is very frightened and others because of the character of the parents. I would get someone to watch a few episodes for you and pick out some of the births so you get to see some of the more "normal" experiences. My mother always told me that birth was very hard. Whilst far from a walk in the park, I found that it was not at all as bad as I had thought. Knowledge is power I think. Far better to know what to expect and to have more control. Things you don't understand are always the most frightening.

bonzo77 Sun 07-Oct-12 15:25:55

Watch it, ask for a proper tour or the labour suite too, get more info from other sources about what you can do to help yourself. Nct, hypnobirthing, mn and nhs classes depending on what appeals.

osterleymama Sun 07-Oct-12 15:28:05

I'd watch it, I was petrified going into my last labour and am much less scared this time. I think fear of the unknown is much worse that fear of something painful but understandable.

Londonmrss Sun 07-Oct-12 15:35:14

Well worth watching this one: https://lifebegins.channel4.com/explore/birth/types-of-birth/natural-birth/video/heather-gives-birth-in-the-pool
It's a beautiful, calm and inspiring birth. I think the girl had spent her whole pregnancy thinking 'I hope I look nice when I'm in labour' rather than 'will it hurt?' so didn't have any of the fear that creates tension that in turn creates pain. I've watched this one several times in the lead up to my own (I'm currently 37 weeks).
forgotten is right though- most of them involve a woman lying on her back screaming. This is not a representation of real life, but a representation of what makes a dramatic television programme.

Ohhelpohnoitsa Sun 07-Oct-12 15:48:40

forewarned = forearmed.

AlexanderS Sun 07-Oct-12 15:52:05

I think you need to have a basic understanding of the interventions that can be used in labour - e.g. ventouse, forceps, episiotomy, C-section, the procedure where they attach a monitor to the top of the baby's head (my DS had to have that and I'm glad I understood what they were doing and why from my NHS antenatal classes). And the different types of pain relief - otherwise how can you write a birth plan? A good pregnancy and childbirth book will talk you through that stuff.

Try not to worry. I know that's hard! But women do have good labours, it's not always pain and distress. I can honestly say I never got to a point in my labour where I thought I couldn't cope with the pain (though I had a C-section at 8cm dilated and never got to the pushing part!). I took a portable CD player to the hospital and listened to all my favourite music, I think that helped. I'm sure you'll find many similar tips on here.

cakeandcava Sun 07-Oct-12 15:59:00

I really think you'll be doing yourself a huge favour by finding more out about the labour and birth process. Not just watching OBEM (it's not very representative, the women on it are self-selected, and then selected for entertainment value), but taking a class or reading a lot. It really helps to understand what is happening, why it is happening and why it is a good thing. That way, you'll be able to think about the process and the outcome rather that just 'that hurts and I'm scared'.

booboomonster Sun 07-Oct-12 16:20:36

There's some good advice here. I just wanted to add that reading up on it might be better than the visuals of OBEM. Also, you can take it at your own pace. Maybe find a book without graphic illustrations. There might even be a book for people who fear labour. Lastly, I do think you will need to deal with the fear as it could just tense you up and make labour even harder (like if you knock yourself and go 'argh' it seems to hurt more than when you breathe it through). Breathing techniques might really help on that score, too. Good Luck!

Oldandcobwebby Sun 07-Oct-12 17:05:28

forewarned = forearmed
four armed = deformed

gringringrin

PeshwariNaan Sun 07-Oct-12 17:10:20

No. Read some Ina May Gaskin!

Maybe try reading a book such as Ina May's Guide To Childbirth.

I've watched a few episodes of OBEM and although I get mild panic at some points it's one once the baby arrives.
I suffer from anxiety and particularly health anxiety and I find avoidance and denial works badly. But then on the other hand you could be over prepared. I think finishing a middle ground where you're informed but not fearful would be good?

BikeRunSki Sun 07-Oct-12 17:20:37

I deliberately avoided OBEM when I was pg.

JennerOSity Sun 07-Oct-12 17:44:24

The thing is, you never know which image will freak you out completely and get stuck in your head so you can't shift it! And you won't know it's coming until you have seen it.

Personally I wouldn't watch it as I don't think it is representative at all of the variety of labour experiences.

It is important to know that experiences of labour vary a lot - and the ones deemed telly-worthy are not necessarily anything like what your's will be like or likely to assuage your concerns.

The main way you can be prepared is to try to relax and be prepared to go with the flow - your body and the midwives will take care of the how-it's-going-to-happen part - your job is just to roll with it and stay calm.

If it helps - it is entirely possible to have an easy first labour. I am currently pregnant with second but my first labour was a breeze - keep in mind that this is possible. Have some vague idea about what you absolutely don't want in your labour (mine was my mum being there - noooooo) and then just let it pan out.

The more chilled out you are the better, and if having your nose rubbed in all the possible things that can go wrong by seeing it on OBEM would not calm you - don't do it just to try to be informed - you won't be informed, because no-one will have had your labour - you will just be freaked out!

whatsoever Sun 07-Oct-12 17:56:15

I watched OBEM religiously before I was pregnant but have avoided it since. However at the start of my mat leave I decided to watch all the water birth clips on 4OD as that's my plan A. I found them really encouraging.

I read Ina May's book too. It was very nice & empowering but I suspect the lovely home-style births on the farm with 2 MWs always present will bear very little resemblance to my birth at a massive very busy hospital. It did give me the sense that I can question the need for interventions though, which I am hoping to be able to do if necessary.

GuybrushThreepwodWasHere Sun 07-Oct-12 18:12:26

Me and my DH found it helpful and really informative, but I'm a nurse and not really fazed by hospitals/vomit/poo/emergency surgery

It depends on what bit of birth you're scared by?

There was a series on BBC recently about MW's that I thought was a bit tamer then OBEM

VeremyJyle Sun 07-Oct-12 18:23:02

I watched a video on free birthing (illegal and not advocating but...) it gave me such confidence to watch a woman give birth in no pain, she just breathed her baby out. It was so inspiring, seeing is believing! I had first two DCs with no pain relief and third with gas and air as he was in an awkward position, I just reminded myself that woman had done it and so could I, a very sobering thought.
I would recommend watching the more positive births first, my favourite episode (I think it was Midwives on BBC) was seeing a permatanned girl in stilettos have a water birth with the most supportive dp ever supporting her through it, it was truly beautiful I'm still jealous now of such a supportive birth partner hth smile

isambardo Sun 07-Oct-12 18:31:32

I really wouldn't recommend watching OBEM, but you do need to prepare yourself for labour.

I would read as many birth stories as you can (Ina May's Guide to Childbirth is brilliant for this, as others have said). I would also attend your local NHS lessons which will inform you of all your options of pain relief, info about your local hospital/midwife led unit etc.

I know its daunting but information really does help. Also, maybe consider some hypnobirthing classes or a CD as a way to relax and get prepared.

StuntNun Sun 07-Oct-12 18:34:30

I have been watching it and looking away during the scary bits, such as the sections. The thing I found most useful was seeing one girl who was really panicking and taking short frequent breaths of her gas and air and refusing to stop taking it, which doesn't work as you need to take longer breaths when the contraction is just starting and stop taking it between contractions. I can so easily see myself getting into that same panic so now I know to focus on keeping calm so that I can listen to the midwife properly.

DueinFeb Sun 07-Oct-12 18:37:12

Goodness - all interesting advice - thank you V much. But I am still very undecided. I think I am leaning towards avoiding it. I might try and find a book on it. I just know if I need to stay calm I am not going to be able to do it. I am probably the most anxious person you'll ever meet. I am also a 'worst case scenario' thinker. Just reading these posts is making me scared. Urgh. I have no threshold for pain whatsoever. I tend to cry A LOT. I am a big baby myself. I am def leaning towards avoiding the program and maybe going to a class. Anyone tried pregnancy yoga? Did it help with the 'calming down?'

DueinFeb Sun 07-Oct-12 18:39:04

Thanks ever so much for all this - it is really helping me.

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