The Unknowns About Childbirth Can Cause Fear, But We're Here To Help!

Ann Douglas, author of The Mother of All Pregnancy Books: The Ultimate Guide to Conception, Birth and Everything in Between and The Mother of All Baby Books: The Ultimate Guide to Your Baby's First Year, is here at Pregnancy & Baby! Read Ann's advice on everything from keeping romance alive amidst the structure and stress of baby-making to weathering the storms of morning sickness to preparing for the birth of your dreams.
Ann Douglas

More Mom's the Word by Ann Douglas

Can I really do this?
Hit with a bad case of stage fright now that your baby's due date is fast approaching? You're certainly in good company. It's a rare mother-to-be, after all, who doesn't experience at least one sleepless night wondering if she's got what it takes to deal with the challenges of labor. Here's what you need to know about five of the biggest labor-related fears.

1. I'm worried that I won't figure out that I'm really in labor until I'm about to give birth.

We've all read stories about women giving birth in grocery stores because they didn't realize that it was "the real thing" until it was too late. Fortunately, these types of deliveries are relatively rare -- which goes a long way toward explaining why they tend to make front-page news when they happen!

While you might have your doubts initially about whether you're dealing with true labor or a particularly nasty imitation, as your labor progresses, you'll have a better idea about what's is (or isn't) going on. And even if you're still stumped at that point, your doctor or midwife will be able to step in and help you to make the definitive call. It's part of the job description!

2. I'm concerned that I'll show up at the hospital only to find out that I'm not really in labor.

While it may be a bit embarrassing and frustrating to race to the labor and delivery ward only to find out that you're still as pregnant as ever, no one will think any less of you for wanting to check things out. After all, it's a far wiser woman who heads off to labor and delivery prematurely than she who gives birth at the side of the highway!

3. I'm worried that my water will break while I'm dining out at a fancy restaurant.

Only 10 percent of women experience the rupture of their membranes prior to the onset of labor. So unless you're planning to head for the restaurant after the contractions start coming fast and furious, odds are you'll be fine. And even if your water did happen to break in the middle of the restaurant, your baby's head would act like a cork, blocking the exit to your uterus and slowing the flow of amniotic fluid to a mere dribble.

4. I'm worried that I'll go into labor in my sleep and only wake up when the baby's head is beginning to crown.

This isn't a worry: this is wishful thinking on your part! Seriously, your chances of sleeping through the heavy-duty labor contractions are pretty much on par with your odds of sleeping through an earthquake, a flash-flood or some other natural disaster. It ain't going to happen, sister.

5. I'm petrified that I won't be able to cope with the pain of labor.

Given the number of scary stories you've no doubt been exposed to over the past nine months, it's hardly surprising that you're being hit with a bad case of stage fright.

The best way to combat this particular fear is to arm yourself with the facts. Read as much as you can about giving birth. Sign up for childbirth classes. And talk to your doctor or midwife about your various pain relief options. If you're still feeling pretty freaked out, remind yourself that generations of women have walked this road before and lived to tell. You will,

Tags: fear

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