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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.

melliebobs Wed 10-Oct-12 19:56:14

I watched OBEM. Curious more than anything. After having dd I can't watch it now without getting angry and envy and crying that I missed out n didn't do it properly. I hate that programme

DaffyDuck88 Wed 10-Oct-12 19:51:19

Don't watch it! Watch this instead! A nice calm hypnobirth in water. Seriously, this is inspiring and reminds you that your body knows what to do if we let it.

smileyhappymummy Tue 09-Oct-12 18:58:25

To all those feeling anxious.... I am a doctor so have seen a fair few different deliveries whilst doing obs and gynae and paeds, and obviously we end up seeing the complicated stuff. However, it's only ever made me feel better about birth, because every single time, no matter what's gone on, seeing the mum holding her baby and how overwhelmingly happy she is just makes it very plain thwt it's all worth it and that it all stops mattering the second you hold your baby. And that's how it's been for me personally as well.
Don't know if that helps at all, hope so, good luck to you all!

DueinFeb Tue 09-Oct-12 09:38:15

Thanks so much LillianGish and glossyflower - both very comforting posts smile

glossyflower Tue 09-Oct-12 09:15:18

In my opinion, I think you should watch it.
I've never been able to watch program's like that before, thought it was totally gross lol.
However since maybe a couple of years ago I started to watch it, and now am hooked even now am pregnant with first baby.
Yes some of it looks horrid but when you see that baby at the end it makes you emotional.
I have found that the women on One Born who come on at the beginning and say "yeah this is my 3rd I know what to expect its going to be a piece of cake" generally have a difficult labour. Those who come in nervous of what's going to happen generally look like they have a lovely labour and cope with it fabulously. I say generally because there are exceptions.
I think if you can mentally prepare yourself beforehand it might make it easier.
That said, I have not yet given birth myself!!!
Good luck x

LillianGish Mon 08-Oct-12 19:02:08

I love OBEM, but definitely wouldn't watch it if pregnant. Anyone who says they aren't apprehensive before their first baby is lying. I wish I hadn't dreaded the birth of my first baby so much - in the end I really enjoyed it and the subsequent birth of ds, in fact one of the reasons I like watching OBEM is like feeling nostalgic the two best days of my life. My advice to anyone would be to be realistic about what might happen - prepare for the worst and hope for the best. I don't think it's particularly helpful to go into it thinking a whiff of lavender oil and a few scented candles will do the trick and then feel cheated because you end up with an epidural. Remember pain relief is an option - I had epidurals with both and that's why I enjoyed so much. As for embarrassment, believe me that will be the least of your worries. Don't underestimate how excited you'll be about meeting your new baby and also how fed up you will be of pregnancy by the time the moment arrives.

Tattoopixie Mon 08-Oct-12 18:41:04

Thank you so much Needforsleep I had no idea such an injection existed so will ask my midwife at my next appointment smile

Tattoopixie Mon 08-Oct-12 18:36:52

Hey DueinFeb NCT stands for national childbirth trust and if you type that into google you will get directed to their web page. There is a section on the site that lets you find out what's available in your area aswell smile and thanks!

Sussy83baby Mon 08-Oct-12 11:57:25

No one likes the thought of people looking at there private parts but when ur in labour u don't care as long as the baby comes out safely, it's painful but all worth focus on what ur gettin at the end, every labour and delivery is diff for ECG pregnancy and women so u can watch the program's and find urs is nothing alike

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 08-Oct-12 11:03:55

I watch it, but only because I like shouting at the TV.

I have never seen a birth on that programme that resembles any one of my 3 experiences.

Greypuddle Mon 08-Oct-12 11:02:45

I second all who have mentioned hypnobirthing. I have the cd and the Maggie Howell book. I think hypnotherapy might help that mindset of 'I'm terrified of xyz', where we've decided what we're scared of from quite a young age (in my case it's heights) and it's firmed up in our heads to the extent that we believe it's simply a part of our personality and we can't change it. For example, the difference in the phrases 'I am anxious' and 'I sometimes feel anxious' - one is referring to one's whole being and one is separating the self from the condition.

Oh dear - I'm not sounding very clear at all! You've told yourself over and over and over again that you're scared - if you listen to a hypnobirthing cd, it will tell you over and over that you'll be ok - hopefully replacing what you've told yourself for years. If nothing else, it's soothing and calming. Good luck. I bet you'll be great.

Spice17 Mon 08-Oct-12 11:01:24

Yes I think it was called 'The Midwives' and was on BBC 2 about 2 months ago. It was a documentry and I found it more factual than OBEM and therefore more helpful and reassuring.

I also learnt about the drugs etc before my antenatal e.g about pethedine possibly making the baby sleepy.

aimingtobeaperfectionist Mon 08-Oct-12 10:47:48

I have a terrible fear of vomiting but when I was sick during labour, I can't tell you how much better I felt. Don't worry about that bit, it just happens- you throw up and get back to business. you'll have a lot more to concentrate on at that point. Also, I cried the entire way through. I mean literally from 7pm till DD was born at 2pm the next day blush no one was bothere apart from me.

dinkystinky Mon 08-Oct-12 10:33:26

No - read "Childbirth Without Fear" and some Ina May Gaskin and look into hypnobirthing - they'll be far more helpful. Each person's labour, and how they react to it and feel in it, is different - watching OBEM really wont help you cope with yor phobia/panic.

Purplecatti Mon 08-Oct-12 10:31:55

I am terrified of hospitals and 'gukky' things happening to me and I'm due this week!
My mum has been the nicest and most helpful person. She told me that seeing it and hearing it are very different to doing it and experiencing it yourself.
If it was that bad people wouldn't do it more than once.
She said she was so terrified with her first (me) that she turned up and the hospital, heard a woman screaming and she fainted! It took two midwives to drag her into the delivery room. But she said it wasn't so bad in the end, when things get under way she said just to go with whatever your body seems to tell you.
I'm going for a home birth which at least overrides the hospital phobia and my midwives are WELL aware of my fear of being meddled with and I'm very lucky they've all been so understanding.
Mention it to your midwife, you're not silly for having fear and sometimes just voicing your fear to the powers that be helps relieve some of the tension.

I've steered clear of OBEM as it looks a bit dramatic for me but I did watch an episode of the BBC one and that was OK.

Londonmrss Mon 08-Oct-12 10:19:47

I'd like to give a tiny opposing view to all the Ina May Gaskin recommendations. I actually found it rather judgmental in its opposition to medical intervention- as if people who do end up going down that route have somehow failed. I understand the philosophy of thinking of birth as a natural process rather than a medical one which is why I'd recommend 'Effective Birth Preparation' by Maggie Howell instead. Although I'm not keen on the CDs that go with it, the book has really helped me.

DueinFeb Mon 08-Oct-12 10:19:03

ps - for those who asked if a friend could help with their story. I am only the 2nd person out of my entire group of friends to have a baby and the first had a nightmare birth - waters broke on Monday and had to be sent home for ages - days - because nothing was happening - she planned a water birth but then the baby was back to back or in breech or something (no clue! I avoid these things) then she had to go back to hospital so couldnt do the water birth and was there for days and then had to be cut. I listened to the story and she might as well have been describing Texas Chainsaw Massacre in detail. That didnt help. Then my cousin's friend had a baby and my cousin said - with her hands on mine - "er..... I won't tell you about the labour" - I AM absolutely sick with fear sad

DueinFeb Mon 08-Oct-12 10:13:38

Everyone seems to be quite sold on 'hypnobirthing' which I had never heard of. I am going to try and type hypno birth classes into google and see what I can find. I think I will stay away from OBEM - as the 5 mins I saw were so scarring. I will also check out this Ina May person. It seems I have lots of options. Thank you thanks

ohmeohmy Mon 08-Oct-12 08:17:08

Watch births on the hypnobirthing channel on YouTube. Totally different to what you are expecting to see and very reassuring

panicnotanymore Mon 08-Oct-12 07:36:12

I don't watch birth programmes, and would go as far as to say that the reason I waited until the last possible minute to have kids (age 39) was down to the birth video the school made us watch age 13. I left a bit traumatised by that.

I think some people find OBEM helpful, but if you don't, don't watch it. Read up on the process, speak to your midwife, avoid women who love re-telling the tale of their own labours over and over again. ime the worse the labour, the more they like to talk about it!

We're all different, me, I'm ok with the idea of birth, but really not ok with watching it on TV.

MB34 Sun 07-Oct-12 23:51:49

I would say avoid watching any part of it.

When I first became pregnant, I watched a few episodes on the basis that I'd see the worst and my birth could only be better - it scared the living daylights out of me! (Although I did watch the episode that someone linked to earlier and was quite inspired by that one birth experience!)

However, I have signed up to do a hypnobirthing course, I have only done one session, but since reading the book, I haven't watched an episode since.

Hypnobirthing teaches you that your body is designed to give birth so have faith in your body that it knows what it's doing. It also encourages you to envisage how you want your birthing experience to play out - making it more likely to happen (sort of like olympic athletes visualising themselves crossing the finishing line first to spur them on to win - it wouldn't cross their minds to visualise themselves finishing second/third/last!)

I may not be explaining this very well and I hope you get what I am trying to say. Maybe reading a hypnobirthing book or watching a DVD may calm you a little.

I also don't like the indignity of it all - but with hypnobirthing - if all goes to plan there shouldn't be much interference from anyone. However, just incase, I have bought a crop top/bra thing and a long nighty to keep things covered!

Orenishii Sun 07-Oct-12 22:56:41

Watching OBEM REALLY brought it home to me how much holding your breath, panicking, and not really dealing with it mentally - or at least trying to - can hinder the whole process.

Of course things might happen, but in the process of a regular birth, your body is doing something amazing, that goes far away from how much perhaps we're mentally and emotionally removed from our bodies. OBEM helped me a lot in that I realised tensing up, not breathing, not letting things go way my body will dictate them will not help me.

I get the whole having lived your life getting changed in a cubicle thing smile But during child birth, I tend to thing the more you give yourself up to it, the better time you'll have of it, at least mentally and emotionally. To let go, to surrender yourself to the amazing thing your body will do, is probably the best way to keep calm.

Londonmrs I love that birth! I've watched it so many times in the lead up to my own!

Dualta Sun 07-Oct-12 22:45:29

I watched it when I was pregnant last year, to be honest there are so many different types of births - and you really cannot know what type of birth experience you will have going into it.

Some of the births are a bit sensationalised, lots of loud howling/pain and sometimes distress whilst others look almost unbelievably serene.

You don't hear much from the women about how they felt about the birth experience in the show - I found talking through recent the birth experience of a couple of close friends gave me more insight into what to expect - than watching the show. Esp as labour can be long and boring before the final stage!

Have you got any friends who would share their perspective with you? Lots on MN as well.

I found listening to hypnobirthing cds put me into a 'what will be will be' sort of frame of mind - which defo helped.

Iggly Sun 07-Oct-12 20:22:03

The problem with obem is that that is not how labour will be from your pov.

My first labour was hard - 2 hours of pushing, blood loss, stitches but even straight after (and during) I wasn't scared just bloody tired and hungry. DH on the other hand was bricking it!

Read Ina May Gaskin and do yoga if you can. You can learn a lot about labour without making it scary.

kellestar Sun 07-Oct-12 20:16:40

When I was first expecting [DD is now 21 months old] I wasn't keen on watching anything, but a friend really recommended it. She did me the biggest favour. She is a GP, but did a number of rotations in different departments, including deliveries and nicu so had a vast knowledge and patience. She prewatched, made notes, sat with me and prewarned of bits that might be worrying. She also talked through different ways of handling things. She was excellent and well worth the cake I made her for each OBEM. I did watch them on my own after a while and found the fore knowledge helped me understand that every woman is different and each delivery is different.

I had my NCT classes cancelled as I was the only one signed up locally and though given another option it was too late [8pm-10pm] over an hour drive away. All the NHS ones were on days where I had consultant appointments.

I knew that my pregnancy was high risk [weight] so would deliver at a consultant led unit. Was freaked that they'd just decide on a CS. I had a lovely VB with a lovely midwife and it was exactly what I wanted, but not what I was expecting. My friend had prepared me for all options and I think I'd mentally prepared myself for a long labour.

So I would advise that if you haven't got a friend like mine, find out about doulas, they can offer very similar services. The support they can offer you is in addition to your midwife, the good thing is that you can shop around to find the right person for you.

My DH also watched OBEM on his own with friends notes, it helped him understand what labour is all about and how useful active birth partners can be. He was excellent and really supportive, helped me relax and concentrate, he knew exactly what my wishes were [birth plan etc]. Having him prepared helped me so much.

I am due DC2 in April next year and have been told that I am classed as low risk this time. It has opened up more options for me, last time being high risk meant that the options were slightly more limited, but that was good [for me] in a way, as less to panic/mull over.

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