Dear Mother to be:
“Feel the fear and do it anyway” – Susan Jeffers
While the journey of pregnancy is an exciting one the thought of the impending labour often brings feelings of fear and dread. Labour like life is a process where there may be some bumps along the way but how we respond is key. Many situations can place us in a state of fear but as a Mother and a Midwife educator I find that while pregnant women may state that they are “afraid of Labour” with a little probing the root cause of the fear is the fear of losing control and not being able to handle it. Childbirth is a normal event. This process has taken place for centuries and it is a remarkable event that will transform your life forever but if you are feeling fearful….This is normal!
It is the fear of the unknown. This is your first experience and while some childbirth programmes on our televisions are helpful some instil fear rather than confidence. You have read and googled everything .Take a moment and Relax. Have confidence in your ability to handle whatever the Labour process brings. With support and encouragement you will take part in an incredible journey of discovery-not just about the labour but you as a person! It is all about having confidence in your ability to deal with whatever your labour brings. Preparation is key and with some simple steps you will handle it! … Your midwife will be with you every step of the way.
The Labour Preparation guide:
1. Rest: It is important to be well rested taking on the challenge of labour. Once you pass 30 weeks you begin to feel very tired. Your baby is taking 7 times more iron from your body once you enter the third trimester.It is not a good idea to work too late into the pregnancy.
2. Attend your Antenatal Classes: You will pick up lots of information and tips for preparation for labour and Parenthood. All pain relief therapies are explored and practiced .Breathing Exercises, Birth positions ,Birthing balls, and back massage skills are all demonstrated. A tour of the Labour Ward is also included and many women are delighted when they see the large spacious rooms and meet some of the midwifery team. You will also get to view the birthing pool. Water is an excellent form of pain relief.The tens machine and all pharmaceutical methods of pain relief are explored. When attending the Antenatal Classes you will make friends and develop a wonderful support network. You can live in a city and feel lonely!
3. PMA-Positive Mental Attitude: This helps in all life’s journeys .Your thoughts frame your behaviour and in labour the more positive they are the better .Positive affirmations and accepting that each pain/contraction/surge whatever you wish to call it is bringing you nearer the birth has been proven to be helpful . It will also increase your confidence in your body’s ability to cope with this natural process.
4. The Partner: The role of the partner is very important during the labour process.Your Birthing Partner is your advocate in labour. You will be invited to bring a partner with you to the labour ward.
5. Trust: You need to trust the midwives and the Medical team that are taking care of you.Midwife means “with woman” and you will develop a special relationship with your midwife.The team work under a very strict code of practice and all care is based on the best evidence available. You need to trust in your own ability to give birth. It is one day that will come and go and look at what you will have at the end of it….A Baby.It is also important to keep an open mind as baby dictates the pace in labour.Things can change from minute to minute.If decisions need to be made it is a two way process and once you feel informed and in control you will have an excellent recovery both physically and mentally. There is no standard to be achieved in labour and all anyone is expected to do is their best. Good Luck and I know you can do it!