Saturday, December 30, 2006

Fears Related to Baby Birth

Most, if not all, women are naturally worried as their first baby birth approaches. In most of the cases, these fears are forgotten after the birth, as all goes well. Here we shall take a look at the six commonest fears of expectant mothers on their first baby birth.

Fear of Pain

The first thing that would scare a first-time mother is the concern about the degree of pain the birth process will bring. It is not easy to predict how painful the experience is going to be for a particular woman since different women have different experiences of birth pain. Some remember the feeling of contractions as no more than strong period pains; others call it overwhelming. In any case, there are several ways to cope with the pain. A key fact about the feeling of pain is that the more worried a woman feels the worse is the anticipated pain. This is because fear causes a greater amount of adrenaline released in the body, which makes the contractions more intense. On the contrary, a relaxed condition causes the release of endorphins in the body, chemicals that act as natural pain-killers. Another factor in pain relief is proper breathing. Ample supply of oxygen to the uterus muscles takes away part of the pain. To cope with fear, it is recommended that the would-be mothers discuss the labor beforehand with midwives and other moms who have been through the childbirth experience. Regular breathing exercises are to be taken. Taking antenatal classes also helps much. In case, a woman cannot bear the pain at any stage, pain relief is available. While every contraction brings the delivery closer, the most painful phase is usually the transition i.e. when the baby's birth is just minutes away. And finally, it is important not to be scared by the horror stories of other moms; some exaggeration is always there.

Fear of Tearing

Tearing may happen when the baby's head is emerging. It is not as painful as it sounds by its name. In many cases, women in labor will not even feel it much as it takes only a split second. The alternative to tearing is episiotomy i.e. a small cut in the skin between the vagina and the anus. An increasing number of midwives think that tearing is a better option than episiotomy for being less painful and quicker to heal. One way of reducing the risk of tearing is by preparing the perineum (the skin between the vagina and the anus) with massage, preferably with specially manufactured oils for pregnancy. Some experts hold that assuming an upright or squatting birthing position is also helpful in preventing tearing. Seventy percent of women need some kind of stitching due to tearing or episiotomy. The stitching is done under a local anesthetic soon after the mom has had some time with her newborn infant. The stitches dissolve after a few days without leaving behind any long-term problems.

Fear of Putting Off the Partner


A common fear found among many women is that of losing their attraction to their partner following the baby's birth, especially after he has seen her in labor. This fear is pretty much baseless and the majority of men are not put off the sex appeal by seeing their partners in labor. Some partners do not want to be present at birth, so they should not be forced to be there. However, they can be encouraged to attend the antenatal classes.

Fear of the Baby's Health

The question 'could something be wrong with my baby' is the fear of many a woman. To the relief of worried would-be moms, majority of the babies have no complications at birth. With the latest technology used in gynecology, most problems are detected before the baby is born. If nothing is indicated in the tests, there is no need to worry. Even if a specific condition is diagnosed, it can be treated successfully most of the time. Problems that are commonly detected prior to birth include heart defects, kidney malfunctions, liver problems, club foot, and cleft lip and palate. The expectant mother should find about the diagnosed problem in detail before birth so as not to let the fear get worse than reality. Also, women need to keep away any guilt that their baby may have been harmed by something they did (smoking, drinking etc.). Usually, this is not the case.

Fear of Emptying Bowels in Labor


Close to the birth date of the baby, the woman's bowel is stimulated by the hormone prostaglandin. It can cause loose bowel movements and more frequent, and hence the fear of some women that they might poo in labor. This does happen in several cases of birth. The woman in labor may not even notice it and the midwife handling the case already has experience with this sort of situation. So it is nothing unusual to get embarrassed over. If the partner is present and there is this fear of loosing bowel control, he can be asked to stand by the head and hence see nothing of it.

Fear of a Panic Attack

While many women are afraid of having panic attack during labor, it is in fact more likely to happen during pregnancy than in labor. However, it is very uncommon and even women who experience high stress and anxiety most of the time do not have a panic attack in labor. Some panic attacks do happen, especially during the transition phase (when the baby is just minutes away). It has been found that the support of a caring partner in such cases is very helpful in preventing the onslaught of panic. Partners can help by cooling down their women with a damp flannel or massage their

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