Calming Your Labor and Delivery Fears

Calming Your Labor and Delivery Fears

"What if I don''t get to the hospital on time?"

"What if my doctor doesn''t make my delivery?"

"What if the labor pain is more than I can handle?"

"And what if I ... poop on the labor table?

As labor and deliveryday draws near, it can certainly seem as if the "what ifs" are ragingout of control!

Experts say that most first-time moms -- and many experienced moms, too --can get a major case of the jitters as their due datedraws near.

"If your first pregnancy was easy, you worry that your second one will be hard; if yourfirst one was hard, you''re terrified that history will repeat itself. And ifyou''ve never done this before, well, your imagination can simply go wild as youbegin to imagine every worst-case scenario possible," says high-riskobstetrician Laura Riley, MD, author of Pregnancy: You and YourBaby.

Riley says that even the calmest mother-to-be will likely experience someanxiety as labor and delivery turns from a chapter in that pregnancy book to anepisode of real life.

"It''s part excitement, part anticipation, and part pure fear of theunknown. But it''s also a time when some realistic concerns come to theforefront. And it can begin to feel a bit overwhelming, even for the calmestwomen," says Riley, a professor at Massachusetts General Hospital inBoston.

If you''re thinking you''ll control those fears with a detailed birthing plan,guess again. Surprisingly, doctors say this isn''t the best approach toeasing your fears.??

"The truth is, the only person controlling things on delivery day isyour baby, with maybe a little help from Mother Nature," says Riley. Soeven if your birth plan is as detailed as War and Peace, she sayschances are slim that things are going to go the way you planned.

A far more reassuring method is to jot down five or six points of concernabout labor and delivery and discuss them with your doctor long before your duedate.

"Knowing that you and your doctor share a similar birthing philosophycan go a long way in calming your fears," says obstetrician IsabelBlumberg, MD. "And if you find out you''re not in agreement, it''s better tofind out early so you can both compromise on some issues, or if need be, youcan find another doctor who is more in tune with how you want to deliver yourbaby."

Facing Your Labor and Delivery Fears: Some Calming News

When it comes to specific labor and delivery fears, every woman has slightlydifferent concerns. But experts tell WebMD that there are also some that arecommon to almost every woman, affecting both first-time as well as experiencedmoms.

To help allay those fears, the experts we talked to offer the followingcalming and reassuring advice.

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