FTM — The Bump
Natural Birth

FTM

I'm due in October and terrified of labor...some labor stories and some advice on how to stay calm would be nice.

Re: FTM

  • I think it's natural to be anxious about birth, we hear so many stories after all.

    What I think is wonderful about the pregnancy journey is that by the time you get to the end you're so ready for baby to be out and to meet them, that how they get out seems less of an issue. (at least that was my experience)

    I've had two natural births. They were hard work, but they were completely manageable in terms of pain. What I did find was that I would panic a little as each contraction built, and I did have to remind myself not to fight it.

    I've never read it, but lots of people recommend Ina May Gaskin's book, "Guide to Childbirth" for lots of inspiring stories.

    There are also courses like hypnobirthing that lots of people find really valuable.

    Do you have something specific that frightens you about childbirth?
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    Elizabeth 5yrs old Jane 3yrs old
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    crsanchez87
  • I am about 16w along with #2, my first is about to turn 2. When I was overdue with #1 I had acupuncture and acupressure induction. After my first day of treatment I realized that my fears were helping to create the tightness in my body. After talking about it with DH and receiving more acupuncture/acupressure baby arrived right before I risked out of my homebirth!

    When I was in labor it was tough but there was more of a feeling of out of control than a feeling of pain for me. It hurt and I wanted it to be over, true, but for me the "scary" part (it was more frustrating and stressful than scary) was that I didn't know how to behave/what to do/how to think when My body was going through this wild thing called giving birth. I think it is partly because the human memory cannot recall pain but I sure remember how helpless I felt! I didn't do much preparation for labor last time. This time around I am planning another homebirth but I have decided to prepare by practicing pain management techniques that I read about in the book Birthing From Within. I need something to focus on while my body labors or I will again become frustrated like I was with #1

    What I was so afraid of before baby came was not so much labor or tearing or any of it. I was afraid of not being a good mom. I kind of thought I was afraid of labor but after talking it out I came to realize that I was trying to avoid facing my real fear of being a bad parent.

    Sorry for the ramble. To summarize I think talking about your fears is best and second taking the time to adress the fears with a plan of action. And I hope sharing a little about what happened/is happening to me helps a little too.
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  • With Without Fear is an old book, but awesome. There are lots of stories (including links to mine--DS2's was very positive) in the sticky post. Welcome!
  • In the end, you have absolutely no idea what's going to happen when you go into labor.  More likely then not you're worrying about things that won't happen!  Focus on the physical sensations of the fear and try to imagine that it's not fear, it's excitement to meet your new baby!  Keep it positive and everything will turn out just as it was meant to all along.

    I used the HypnoBabies self-hypnosis program with both of my births.  After I started it, all my fears of birth went away entirely.  Seriously - it was crazy - i just never thought of it that way again.  It became a challenge I was looking forward to like I think maybe the way runners would look forward to a long run or something.  I made a website to help spread the word if you're interested:  www.pickinglimes.com

    That aside, if you stay away from negative birth stories in general and surround yourself with positive ones, that could be a huge help.  If you google positive birth stories you'll find tons of content.  Here are a few for easy clicking.  the first one also has a link for positive birth affirmations which are proven to ease fear over time (Hypnobabies has you listen to them once daily while you do other things). the last link has mostly HynoBabies stories I think.  


    Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth is a big help in better understanding why you shouldn't be fearful too.  

    Proud mom of two boys - July 2010 and November 2013
    Hypnosis made my births painless and drug-free! Check out my website to learn more: www.pickinglimes.com

    TwinsCitiesMomma
  • WDDCHWDDCH member
    Congrats! The best advice I can give you is to seek out a childbirth educator or class that teaches you techniques to be calm. Knowing what types of things to expect can make a huge difference.

    For me, when a contraction would start, I would take a deep breath and then focus on breathing evenly during the contraction. Holding your breath reduces oxygen to your muscles and baby so learning to breathe during a contraction is important. I focused on keeping my muscles relaxed (tension and fear cause more pain).

    When the contraction finished I'd take another deep breath. This made everyone (husband, midwife) in tune with what I was experiencing since I didn't have monitors. They knew to be quiet and let me focus when I took that initial deep breath at the onset of a contraction and to not bother me (with trying to give me a drink or touching me since touch distracts me) until I took the second deep breath at the end.

    I really like Birth Boot Camp. They have instructors for live classes in various US cities OR you can take the course online, at your own pace. I strongly encourage, FTMs especially, to read all about natural birth and the birth process as well as take a natural childbirth class. Most hospital ones are free or low cost but they mostly focus, IMO, on their hospital's standards and typical western birth rather than natural birth. Most fear comes from the unknown. Soak up as much knowledge as you can, ignore the naysayers and surround yourself with encouragement.

    Check out birthwithoutfear blog as well. She's also on IG and FB.
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    bonniecoutureholli0801
  • I don't know anyone who wasn't terrified of the process the first time around!  Truthfully though, if you let the fear take over, you will have more trouble.  You will be amazed how much your body just does what it needs to do if you let it.  Totally agree with WDDCH's response above.  The contractions are the worst part (something no one ever told me before I got pregnant), and if you get yourself into a comfortable resting position and focus on breathing and feeling your body progress, it will be over before you know it.

    It also helped me tremendously to have someone with me that I trusted who had gone through it before.  My mom was my coach (she went through it 5 times naturally!), and she just kept reminding me to breathe.  Not everyone wants someone there, but it worked for me.  My labor was speedy (2 hrs.) and without any complications.  I am definitely sold on natural birth for all future babies!
  • This is my first, but I've wanted it so bad that I'm not scared of the labor and stuff so much as I'm scared for baby.  I am having a completely normal pregnancy so far (only 9 weeks, so bear with me, lol) but I feel anxious because I can't feel the baby.  

    Maybe we'll both feel better and more excited when we start to feel the baby moving. :)  Knowledge comforts me - I research a lot and read everything I can, so maybe doing a lot of reading can help you, too.

    Also, try meditating.  It can be an interesting experience, I choose to do it mostly in the early mornings, when the house is quiet.  I sit in a comfortable position, close my eyes, and concentrate on good breathing.  In, and out.  Lately, I've enjoyed visualizing each breath going all the way down to baby, and trying to picture baby in my uterus.  This has even helped with my nausea, though I don't have much.  When I don't want to eat, I instead try to disconnect myself from thinking about my stomach, and instead concentrate on the food going to the baby.  I don't know if it works on a distraction level or what, but I feel better and more connected doing these types of things.

    Good luck. :D
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