Getting over childbirth fears(17 Posts)
So we are planning to start ttc soon. I know it will probably take a while (underactive thyroid and I am a bit older) but I want to tackle some of my fears before we ttc. For a long time, the idea of childbirth completely freaked out (had to cover ears when friends talked about it). I have come to terms with the fact that to have a baby you need to go through childbirth but I am still fairly worried.
I'm going to look into hypnobirth but it would be get other thoughts on this. I don't really want to watch lots of birthing videos but is it better to be prepared for the things that could go wrong?? What else might help?
Don't worry, by the time you are around 35+ weeks pregnant you stop being scared. Nature will make you so uncomfortable and miserable that you will just want the baby out. It also isn't actually scary at the time as you just get on with it. Nature and hormones will be your friend. You're scared of being scared but you won't be.
Focus on getting pregnant first then you can discuss birth methods, pain relief etc. with your midwife. Hypnobirthing is a good idea. Don't watch birth videos! Join an NCT antenatal group when the time comes as they cover a lot about what can "go wrong". My first birth was bad but we're still standing. Due DC2 any day now and I couldn't be less scared because I'd rather be in pain that be uncomfortable for one more day!
Also, it is worth it. I'd go through that bad birth 1000 times for my DD. The reward is good
TBC the pregnancy is such a long old haul that you don't care all that much by the end. And in any event you can't get out of it. And when its over its great!
Of all the things that decided me against a DC3 it certainly wasn't the childbirth which really is just a few hours out of a much longer slog. It was the 9 month pregnancy, and doing the baby thing all over again.
Worry about it when you get there.
Its great to prepare your mind but keeping an open mind is also good. Eg you can decide you're going to have the baby this way or that way, but it might not pan out like that, especially with your first where your body is getting the knack for the first time. You might have a long labour and be really tired and need an intervention that you wouldn't have wanted in an ideal world. Getting too invested in one particular kind of birth is a recipe for disaster, it makes you feel like a failure if it doesn't pan out quite like that.
The great trick with childbirth is to relinquish control and let your body do its thing, go with the flow and help it along, don't fight it.
I really recommend using the water pool - brilliant for helping you find the right position so that you can labour in a way that feels OK for you.
YY to hormones. Labour is not like getting stabbed by a machete, a sudden dramatic agnony.
It's much more like running a marathon. If you've ever done a run or exercise you'll know that after a bit you've got so many hormones and endorphins running around your body that you're in a slightly altered state.
By the time labour is advanced your sense of time and everything is slightly altered, you have got loads of hormones doing their thing. There is a long warm up period so its not like you go into hospital "cold" and suddenly are in full on labour/transition.
By the time you get the pushing stage you're in a different place. I had a third degree tear with my youngest and tbh my body was in such a different state I don't think I really noticed it that much. I remember saying "ouch it stings" but really it wasn't awful and it was over in a second and there he was (9lb 8 and the longest umbilical cord the midwife had EVER seen (so proud )!
Don't worry, by the time you are around 35+ weeks pregnant you stop being scared.
I didn't. I'm 34 weeks with DC2 and I'm still scared.
OP what I realised is that you can be scared and still find ways to believe in your own ability to cope.
I read the good birth companion by Nicole Croft when I was deciding if I actually wanted to ttc, since I was scared of labour. It helped enormously - it's very practical and calm, without being preachy. I don't think DD would be here if I'd never read it!
This time I've also been finding birth skills by juju sundin helpful. It is very founded in the physiology of birth and how we experience pain, and has practical things to help.
Hypnobirthing didn't really work for me last time, labour was too intense. I loved the birth pool though. And the TENS machine in the early stages. Having different pain relief options to help me with coping was really important.
I've done it four times and I'm a total wuss so it can't be that bad.
As op said its like running a marathon it builds up its not like immediate excruciating pain. Also if it gets too much you can have an epidural which takes the pain away. I even had a nap at 10 cms dialated.
Agree with the points already made. I'm due any day with DC3 and literally cannot wait for labour to begin, I'm so bloody uncomfortable. The pain is not like any other pain you've experienced before and you get breaks between contractions - yes it hurts, but it's manageable. And honestly, giving birth to my babies were the most amazing experiences of my life.
If it's vaginal birth that you are anxious about, you may wish to request an ELCS, due to your anxiety. 'Mental' health reasons are just as much 'health' reasons as purely physical problems (no such thing as a mind/body split anyway, the two are part of the whole).
Not to scare you but my experience was nothing like the ladies above describe! I didn't stop being scared and it was excruciating pain from the get go (waters went and contractions started 30mins later, were immediately 3 in 10 and 45seconds long. Never got closer together or more intense) It was 21hours of torture, ending in forceps, surgery for a retained placenta and damage to my pelvic floor that 4 months of physio is starting to repair.
What I have found though is that all my mum friends have a horror story of some description BUT not a single one wouldn't say it was totally worth it and all are planning on doing it again!
Thank you all for the replies, very helpful! It's not a vaginal birth per se that worries me (although all the talk of tearing etc doesn't help!), just a general anxiousness around everything that could go wrong. The pain worries me less than knowing there are ways to manage it, mental and chemical!
Fluffsnuts, your account is really the type of thing that has made me worry but strangely just talking about it all here (goof and bad) is making me feel a bit better, it take's away the unknown and makes me feel more in control.
That said, I am also worried about the bit afterwards but that is more of the usual stuff, will I be a good mum etc. I will wprry about that later though
Hypnotherapy is definitely worth a go if you want to try and get past your anxieties and there's no harm in starting before you conceive. It's a long time to be feeling worried and like you say, if you want a baby you going to have to deal with it. I think I've even seen books/cds aimed at the ttc stage (Try amazon?)
If it makes you feel better I only laboured for 7 hours and only pushed for four minutes, no tearing. I have pelvic floor damage from pregnancy but pushing ds out wasn't painful as suxh(YY to the altered state of mind) I did it with no pain relief. Good luck with ttc and what you decide, I am trying for ELCS this time round due to nerves and severe anxiety (I was prepped for c section but ds made an early appearance and it's really shaken my confidence)
I had a c-section due to birth fear, it was the only way for me to feel okay about it all. I wanted to deal with the pain afterwards which I would be in control of, rather than the chaos and unpredictability of birth. I'm having a section for my second too. This is just me though! You have options.. I've heard hypnotherapy can be really effective at settling worries.
'birth skills' book mentioned upthread is fantastic. on paper, i had a bad birth experience - stuck on assessment ward with no privacy until 7cm dilated, waiting two hours for an epidural, pushing unsuccessfully, ending up with an emergency csection - but it was actually brilliant, honestly. and i am the least 'empowering birth experience' hippyish type you could meet but i loved labour. i felt supported and powerful and i had great fun with the gas and air and even my section was calm and happy with amazing staff.
i say all this because i'm a definite catastrophiser and worrier - but it was, hand on heart, - a genuinely powerful and amazing experience. the birth skills book is great because it's very much about facing labour head on, working with and and accepting the process however that goes.
you will be fine
Gas and air is your friend OP! Have a really good chat with your midwife around pain relief options etc and try to keep an open mind. IMO births never go to plan so there really isn't much point in making one other than practicalities - lots of fluids, supportive birth partner etc. Don't rule anything out either, if you want an epidural then have one. They don't hand out gold medals at the end to the mums who didn't have pain relief. You will be fine OP, coming on here and talking it through and discussing RL experiences will help x
Oh and with regards to tearing, I know that there are different oils you can use to massage the area in the weeks before birth that are supposed to make things a bit easier. I'm not entirely sure which oils are safe so definitely worth discussing with your midwife first.
Thank you! Hadn't thought about the gas and air being fun, a small bonus. Also great to hear about the oils for tears, did a quick search and it looks like any natural one like coconut oil might help. This forum is a treasure trove of info! Thanks!
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