If you’re pregnant, especially if it’s your first, you may be nervous about childbirth. You’re certainly not the only woman who’s ever felt that way. But many women go on to have more than one child, so the fear is manageable.
However, much of the fear surrounding childbirth is really fear of the unknown, so learning more about the process helps. Another big part of the fear around childbirth is the “horror stories” that seem to come out of the woodwork when you get pregnant. Dr. Darin L. Weyhrich and the staff at Weyhrich OBGYN explain what to expect from childbirth.
Where the fears come from
The fears about childbirth are certainly amplified by cultural influences. Think about the childbirth stories in popular media, for example. Childbirth on TV or in movies is usually a very dramatic event, which always begins with the woman’s water breaking (usually in a public place).
The real-life birth stories you hear also make a difference. You rarely hear about someone’s experience as calm or peaceful, even if it was. Mothers tend to tell their stories for maximum dramatic effect. It may seem like childbirth is always a harrowing experience from which you barely make it out alive. But the truth is often much different.
Learn more about childbirth
One of the best ways to alleviate your fears about childbirth is to learn more about it. One important tip to remember is that the average first-time labor is usually not the dramatic event you see on social media, where someone has to deliver your baby in the car.
Ask Dr. Weyhrich when you should plan on going to the hospital. It’s usually when your contractions are about 5 minutes apart, and it can take many hours to reach that point — your water may not even break before you go to the hospital.
What about pooping during delivery?
Almost every new mom has a fear of pooping during delivery. Trust us, the labor and delivery nurses have seen it all. If you do poop during delivery, it will be quickly and carefully whisked away, probably without you even knowing about it.
Your expectations matter a lot
If you go into labor expecting that it will be painful, you’re more likely to experience a more significant amount of pain.
Of course, childbirth is uncomfortable, but whether or not it’s a pain that you can manage on your own is up to you. If you’re determined that it will be a manageable type of pain, you may experience less of it.
If it’s more painful than you expected, you can always get an epidural for pain relief. There’s no prize for enduring labor pain other than your sweet baby.
Fear of the epidural needle
If you’ve already decided that you’ll probably want an epidural for pain relief, you may wonder about whether or not the needle will hurt. After all, it goes in between the vertebrae in your back.
Before you get an epidural, your back will be numbed with a local anesthetic, so you won’t feel much. And once the epidural is in place, you shouldn’t feel any pain. It usually works very quickly, within 10 minutes or so.
Fear of tearing
You may feel afraid of the tissues around your perineum tearing. These are the tissues between your vagina and anus.
It used to be standard procedure that doctors would make a small cut in your perineum, called an episiotomy, to allow the baby to pass through more easily. But more often, now doctors may allow you to tear instead because a tear is easier to repair.
If you’re concerned about tearing, you can start doing perineal massage in the last weeks of pregnancy. You use oils to massage the perineum to help it get used to stretching before childbirth.
It’s normal to have some fears about childbirth, but you shouldn’t feel paralyzed by fear. If you have more worries about childbirth, Dr. Darin L. Weyhrich is happy to discuss them with you. Contact our office or request an appointment online.