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scared of labour

(38 Posts)
shortiemum Tue 04-Jan-05 15:04:38

can anyone tell me what the natural level of fear about labour is.i cant sleep at night worrying about it and i have started having panic attacks.am i going crazy??

Gobbledigook Tue 04-Jan-05 15:08:10

I don't think you are crazy - I know that it's a very real fear that some people have although tbh, for some reason I never did. Not sure why!

I think I just looked around at all the Mummies and thought 'they've done it and they are OK'.

While I can fully understand your fear - it would be nice to be able to reassure you in some way. I've had 3 now and I'd quite happily have more. It's not that it isn't painful, but it's manageable of course and if you really can't stand it then there is always an epidural!

I know it probably won't help you now but you'll look back on this and wonder what you worried about I'm sure! Please try not to - you can have as little or as much pain relief as you like.

hunkermunker Tue 04-Jan-05 15:10:13

How near is your labour? Have you read a lot about it or would that make you more worried? Would it help to hear a really positive birth story?

DS was born in the water with no pain relief. It took just under 12 hours start to finish and I can honestly say it wasn't agonising. Very strong, a totally overwhelming sensation, but not the outright agony I'd been expecting (DS was back-to-back and would've been much quicker had he not been - active labour was 7 hours).

Do you have a birth plan? Would writing one focus you on what your actual fears are, rather than just dreading the whole event? Then you could deal with them individually.

Are you scared you won't cope with the pain? There are excellent pain relief options available and it is perfectly possible to do it without if you want to.

Or do you have other concerns that sound 'silly'? I can guarantee you that one or many MNetters will have experienced anything that you're dreading and lived to tell the (probably amusing in hindsight) tale.

But if it's really overwhelming you then I think you ought to talk to your community midwife or GP about it. They may be able to give you some breathing techniques (possibly Bach's Rescue Remedy would be a good idea, though I'm not sure it's safe in pregnancy).

HTH a bit hun - try not to worry, it's worth it, I promise

Gobbledigook Tue 04-Jan-05 15:15:23

Hunkermunker - much better put that mine!

hunkermunker Tue 04-Jan-05 15:16:57

I liked your comment about all the other mummies who've done it - I thought that too!

Mind you, I did ask many many women what it felt like and was very disappointed when they couldn't tell me. Could I explain it now? Nope!

shortiemum Tue 04-Jan-05 15:18:34

ive got ten weeks to go.i cant really pinpoint what scares me ,i think it might be because im a born quitter,if i dont like something i can usually blag my way out it,and this is one thing i cant run away from and im not in control of anything.im so scared of the pain and having a panic attack during labour.my other half trys to put my mind at rest but i think he is as scared as me.

acnebride Tue 04-Jan-05 15:19:18

<<hugs>> shortiemum
I guess most people are apprehensive but panic attacks sounds like more fear than most would experience. Is there anyone at all that makes you feel better? For me it was my antenatal teacher; the midwife and all my friends with children scared me rigid but the antenatal teacher was so calm, while being completely realistic. Ring anybody who you have found helps you, as often as you need to.

I used a really simple relaxation technique she taught me before and during labour and it really helped - dh and I practised every night for a little while but it wouldn't matter if we'd only started trying it on the night of the labour IMO. If you would like more info CAT me. Happy to chat if you want to phone me, just send me that CAT if you'd like to.

hunkermunker Tue 04-Jan-05 15:23:32

Hun, you're talking to the biggest blagger there is. It's a standing joke in our family. I have blagged exams, interviews, free stuff, all sorts of things [probably should be a shame emoticon here, but I'm not gonna]

It sounds like you need to practise relaxing, so CAT Acnebride for details of her technique.

But do remember that women do this every day and most of them don't think they can do it either. I trusted that my body would know what to do, but I was scared it wouldn't. For that very reason, I planned very carefully. CAT me if you'd like a copy of my birth plan - it was very detailed and covered all eventualities I could think of.

shortiemum Tue 04-Jan-05 15:30:01

sorry for being a div but what does CAT mean?

beansprout Tue 04-Jan-05 15:30:12

I got scared as well around the same time. I think a lot of women do. For me it was the realisation that it was coming and there was NOTHING I could do about it. I used to freak out on dp and was like a (rather fat) rabbit caught in the headlights.

I think writing your birth plan is a good suggestion. I also found yoga helped as did any ante natal classes that explained what would be happening during the whole process. I think you are at a difficult stage though - it is near enough to feel like it is looming but you won't have had the classes etc that give you the support you need. I read loads of stuff about birth so I knew what would be happening, which helped me. Also, pain relief is very effective. I ended up with an epidural and just sat and did not feel a thing. I kept saying "this is so civilised!".

HTH and good luck - you'll be fine. And like others have said, it is so worth it

hunkermunker Tue 04-Jan-05 15:30:36

Contact A Talker - there's a link on the 'Useful Stuff' line above these posts.

PrettyCandles Tue 04-Jan-05 15:31:41

Do talk to your midwife/GP/antenatal teacher about it. Yes, you do sometimes get scared of labour as it gets closer, but I don't think it should be so overwhelmingly frightening for you.

Women's bodies are designed to give birth - we may not be as strong as men, but we're much tougher than them! That said, don't let anyone bully you into thinking that you don't need pain relief. You can have as much or as little as you want - it's entirely up to you. I've had one with epidural and Entonox, and one with no pain-relief. It's OK, you manage fine. My cousin is an absolute baby-making machine, she's had four without any problems whatsoever (not even morning-sickness, the lucky moo ), but she goes to hospital: 'Hallo, my name is Xxx, I'm in labour, give me the epidural now please.' That's what works for her !

Would you feel better if you had another birth-partner? Either as well as your dp or instead of him. If he's also distressed maybe you both need a bit of extra support. I think most hospitals allow 2 partners to support the mum if she chooses.

hunkermunker Tue 04-Jan-05 15:34:19

Yes, you could have a doula (Pupuce, are you around?) if you don't have a mum or sister or other friend/relative you'd feel comfortable having there. I had my mum as well as DH and it was wonderful (Mum cut the cord!), but I am totally aware that this wouldn't work for everyone.

Find more on doulas here: doulas

spots Tue 04-Jan-05 15:36:57

Shortiemum, it's one of those things isn't it... you're bound to worry about it because it's such an unknown and so big. Think worry is a perfectly appropriate emotion for it! But having said that you may as well do all you can to make yourself feel better. I can't say this loudly enough: whatever you think it will be like, it will be nothing like how you imagine it to be. And if you are really worried about it that probably does mean it will be sort of, somehow, ok. Relax all you can and give your body a chance to take the lead. Honestly, it will be OK.

shortiemum Tue 04-Jan-05 15:40:19

you guys all sound so chilled about this sort of thing.you have given me some things to think about,thanks.do you think the midwives might be judgemental because im quite young(im 20)just one more of my many worrys.(there are sooooo many)

Gobbledigook Tue 04-Jan-05 15:51:42

They shouldn't be judgemental at all! 20 is a perfectly acceptable age to be having a baby anyway!

BTW, we are only chilled because we've done it, survived and for my part, particularly with ds3, really enjoyed it despite the pain!

It's the most amazing experience, really satisfying and I'd do it again in a moment.

I think what stopped me worrying was the fact that I knew that I'd just have an epidural if i couldn't cope. I had one for ds1 because I was induced so basically felt very little, ds2 and ds3 I had with just a bit of gas and air, and actually, I preferred those births even though I felt pain. It's very hard to explain what it's like and I wish I could do something to help you stop worrying - try acnebride's offer, it could really help you.

scubamum Tue 04-Jan-05 16:07:49

In later pregnancy I start having wierd dreams - like I had the baby put had blanked out the labour bit - ie the baby just appeared. Or after one baby being born there was suddenly another baby in there that none of the Drs/MWs had noticed.

Part of me put some of my anxieties down to the feeling of not being in control and unknowns of what I would feel like during labour, as your MW is more concerned about yours & the babys health/wellbeing than your age.

Have you toured the hospital yet (even if you are planning a home birth)? This gave me reassurances even if it did bring on some of the realities of what was soon to come.

I would speak to your MW about your fears and ask about relaxation techniques (which you can use now and when it come to labour).

All the best.

bakedpotato Tue 04-Jan-05 16:19:50

shortiemum, just wanted to say that something weird and wonderful happened to me as the birth of my dd got closer (and i was petrified too. i'm such a physical coward and a total quitter in general). i stopped worrying about the birth, because i got so fed up with being pregnant the thought of getting shot of the baby began to seem really deeply enticing. i got quite gung-ho: 'bring it on!' i think this is fairly common.

i had the sort of birth i'd never imagined or ever thought i'd want (fast, no pain relief, though in advance i'd set my heart on an epidural) and this was somehow fine also. it's amazing what your body is programmed to do and does, so effectively. and afterwards i do remember the huge relief that this... thing was no longer in my body. (doesn't sound very maternal does it, but well, that was how i felt.)

agree so much with spots: 'whatever you think it will be like, it will be nothing like how you imagine it to be'. that's why i'm not a huge fan of birth plans. you can end up disappointed or feeling that things are not proceeding in the appropriate manner. though i think it's a good idea to work out best-case scenarios and thoughts on pain relief in case you have a textbook labour and the world's most lovely midwife (which is, after all, entirely possible). keep an open mind, though.

hope in a few weeks time you get really huge and uncomfy and therefore keen to crack on with it

i'm now 36 wks with no2. bring it on!

BatLady Tue 04-Jan-05 23:06:31

THANK YOU SHORTIE MUM! I have been totally preoccupied with fear of labour recently but would never have had the nerve to start this thread as was convinced all news would be be bad, now having read this I feel so much better, I hope you do too although I think it probably is a lot to do with you having quite a few weeks left to wonder about.

It's also true what bakedpotato says, until last week I was worrying like crazy wondering how I could stop the inevitable! Then suddenly i've realised how fantastic it will be when I can spring up off the sofa or run upstairs or...dare I say it....FIT IN SOME DIFFERENT CLOTHES!! I've got 3 1/2 weeks to go and beleive it or not part of me is actually looking forward to it starting now, although part of me also still needs to keep reading this page to stop myself getting scared again!

It's like all the people on here say I think, we're just trying to guess what it will be like to try and prepare ourselves. I've got a book on yoga too and the ideas are lovely and positive, telling you to concentrate on how every contraction brings baby closer.

Anyway I also thought I'd tell you about my friend who was really worried about labour due to her having such a low tolerance to pain that if she just banged her elbow she would faint! You can imagine her worries...then I saw her a couple of hours after the birth and she was beaming, said she'd do it all over again...and so she did for baby no.2, she's now my biggest source of reassurance and says that pain is totally different from any other because there is a purpose (and an end!) to it, so you feel different.

Thank you so much everyone for all your positive comments, you've definitely helped me in a very big way! Best of luck shortiemum and thankyou again for being braver than me! I hope you benefit from all the advice on this thread too.

xx Batlady

HappyNewCardigan Tue 04-Jan-05 23:15:20

Hope you're ok Shortiemum - this is a very natural reaction to labour - any new experience can cause anxiety. Try & find something to help you focus on the result of labour. Do you have any baby clothes yet - hold these and think of your baby wearing them - you will get through labour and reach this point. Don't listen to other mums scare stories! your body will do the job and you will be amazed with how well you did when you hold your baby. Best wishes

Satine Tue 04-Jan-05 23:16:08

I found it was useful to have another woman with me who had given birth (I am lucky to get on well with my mum, so it was her) and who my husband got on with as IMO men find it hard to know what to do for the best so it helped both of us to have someone else who knew what it was like! I agree though that as well as being pretty scared before the births of both my children, in the end I was also strangely excited and bloody glad that pregnancy was about to end! Labour wasn't the most fun I've ever had but it wasn't as bad as I had feared. Just keep telling yourself that it won't last forever and go for all the pain relief you want!

pinkdiamond Tue 04-Jan-05 23:20:12

Message withdrawn

milge Tue 04-Jan-05 23:30:00

Hi, i was terrified of a CSection! Can you get any more wimpish????? I was practically sobbing with fear, and all i had to do was lie down with a needle in my back!! Good luck to you, enjoy your natural birth, if so many women for hundereds of years have done it, you will be ok. (cliche, but true)

hunkermunker Tue 04-Jan-05 23:39:04

Good point everyone who's mentioned being uncomfy in the latter stages of pregnancy (uncomfy being a euphemism...!) - one of the first things I did was bend right forwards whilst sitting down and dangled my arms so my hands touched the floor. I'd never been so comfortable in all my life! Not having an enormous baby pressing on your ribcage is worth giving birth, I promise! I was ten days overdue and did feel I'd be pregnant for the rest of my life...!

MrsEvs Wed 05-Jan-05 05:11:00

Hope all of this has made you feel a bit happier shortiemum. I just wanted to add that as a panic attack sufferer, the worst part of my labour was the panic attack I had - so you've already dealt with the worst of it!
I know exactly what you mean about feeling it's out of your control - that's exactly what made me panic in labour, I wanted to stop and couldn't, but I soon realised that actually my body was doing it for me, and as soon as that sank in, I stopped panicking and helped my body along - dd was born 5 minutes later
It's totally natural to be worried, but a lot of the time it is the fear of fear itself. Breathing exercises definately help with panic attacks (before labour too if you're having them), you are welcome to contact me about methods I have used too.
It's not the most fun you'll ever have, but it is finite - it'll be over before you know it, and it is so, so worth it. You'll be fine - look at all these MNetters who have lived to tell the tale (and done it more than once!)

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