Are you pregnant and prepared for childbirth? Labor is one of the most daunting prospects for any woman. Even before pregnancy, most of us wince at TV depictions of giving birth. When you are pregnant, labor can hang over you like a dreaded ordeal to get through before meeting your child. It’s no wonder, then, that many women fly into a panic the moment contractions start.
We all know the reality – giving birth hurts. Of course, it does. And, it’s this fear of pain that makes many females worry about labor. But, panicking can make the entire process harder.
Stress and Childbirth
For example, stress will worsen the pain. Not to mention potentially distressing your unborn child. Some studies even suggest that stress during labor can lead to issues with lactation. In short; it pays to keep calm at all costs.
The question is, how exactly are you supposed to stay calm during this process? Is it even possible to stop yourself from flying into a panic the moment you feel your first contraction?
The answer is yes, thankfully. And here with some suggestions to help you manage it.
Arm Yourself with Knowledge Ahead of Giving Birth
Knowledge is vital, especially with an unknown like labor. You may have seen dramatized depictions of fast and screaming labors on television, but what do you actually know about birth?
When it comes down to it, many women find that their labors are nothing like those in the movies. For one, labor is usually a lengthy process. Forget rushing to the hospital at the first contraction; the majority of labor is a waiting game.
Some women even experience contractions for hours before needing the attention of their midwives. For another thing, primal screaming is never going to wash in the hospital. You may also be surprised to find that it doesn’t help at all.
Instead of arming yourself with fake facts, seek knowledge of what to truly expect. Attending antenatal classes in your area is, by far, the best way to manage this. It’s also worth asking your midwife or doctor as many questions as you can about the birth process.
Then, when contractions start, you’ll be able to fall back on this knowledge to keep yourself calm and rest easy everything is proceeding as it should. You certainly won’t fall into the trap of panicking and rushing to the hospital hours before you need to.
Preparation is Key
When you’re pregnant, preparation is everything. That’s because the prep part is the one factor of your childbirth which you have control over. While you might not be able to dictate when your baby comes or how you can pack a badass hospital bag to take along with you.
Having a packed kit of everything you need by the front door is a must in those later stages of labor. It’s also well worth preparing for things like child care or pet care as the big day draws near.
More often than not, it’s a failure to consider these things beforehand that bring on that dreaded panic. If you aren’t packed, you’ll end up rushing around the house at a time when you need to be taking it easy.
And, the last thing you want to do when labor starts is phone around for someone who can look after your dog. Make sure that the scenario doesn’t happen by preparing so that you can calmly put your plans into action when the time comes for giving birth.
Note, too, that birth plans can also be helpful here if you realize the possibility that they won’t always work out. Many midwives are now calling these “birthing preferences” because, more often than not, things don’t work out the way we imagine.
With that being said, having some idea of whether you’re expecting a water birth or medication can help you to keep calm. It’ll undoubtedly let you know what to expect so that panic stays somewhat at bay.
Giving Birth: Find Something to Focus On
When those contractions do start, it’s vital that you find something else to focus on. This technique is a way to distract yourself from the pain and make sure that panic and stress don’t set in.
Hypnobirthing is perhaps the most common example of this at the moment. This now popular birthing method teaches self-hypnosis for staying calm during labor.
Other popular techniques include focusing on breathing or meditating to keep calm. Even if you don’t gravitate toward these methods, something as simple as timing your contractions could do the trick.
You can learn why it’s important to time your contractions on sites like Bloomlife, but there are more than just practical purposes for doing so. By focusing on timing, you can both avoid the panicked rush to the hospital, and provide yourself something else to think about.
That, in turn, can ensure that you’re a lot calmer by the time you need to get in the car and go.
Never Be without Your Birthing Partner
As I’ve already touched on, none of us have much control over how or when labor starts. While there is evidence to suggest that contractions more commonly begin at night, it’s not an exact science.
For all you know, giving birth could start when your partner is at work or otherwise engaged. But, whatever you do, don’t play the hero and try to cope alone.
Women have birthing partners for a reason, and you’re sure to go into more of a panic if you try to deal with early labor alone than with your partner. Some studies even show that women with support throughout labor need fewer painkillers and have a better chance of non-traumatic births than those going solo.
One thing’s for sure, though. Trying to get through those early labor pains alone will likely have you panicking in a way you never would if you had your partner to guide you. So, call them at the first contraction, and let them lead you to a calmer birth all around.
There’s no denying that even the calmest mothers are sure to experience some panic when labor starts. But, with these tips, you can put an end to panic before it becomes a problem.
What are some other ways to stay calm while pregnant and thinking about giving birth? How about during delivery?
9 thoughts on “Prepare for Childbirth: How to Keep Calm & Carry On Giving Birth”
After having just gone through this process last week, I’d recommend a doula. Sometimes the spouse or other birth partner could be very nervous and excited as a new parent, and very invested in the whole process. It’s easier to be able to focus on labor and not feel like you have to worry about the partner during your process. The doula can support both parents, if that is the case. Naturally there are a multitude of different scenarios and needs for women. The best part is taking that beautiful little baby home and loving him or her for an eternity! 💕 Also many things do not go as planned, being prepared is the best way, but not being overly attached to the “how” and just going through the process. Btw, I had a small shamanic ceremony at my hospital. It can be done at the right hospital. I had the most amazing and supportive staff – they became my family. Best wishes to all embarking on the path of motherhood for the first time, and for those who are giving birth multiple times: Best wishes on your brilliant journey no matter however your path, the end result is a precious addition to your family 🙂
Congratulations Ka! I’m humbled that you would take time here so soon after giving birth, and I appreciate the advice you provide to anyone considering a doula and having other questions. I wish you and family all the best!
Thank you, Christy! Best time in my life… :)
I’m so happy for you!!!!
I agree with the advice to be prepared, Christy. I’m not sure about the birthing partner though. I guess it depends on the partner, and the painkillers depend on the situation. My babies were born twelve years apart – the first without a birthing partner (it wasn’t yet commonplace). I did the birthing training alone and relied on myself. I required no painkillers at all. For the second, my partner attended the birthing classes with me but left it up to me while in labour. Because I was relying on him, I wasn’t so self-reliant. Unrelated to that, and for other reasons, I also required pain support that time. I think I’d choose self-reliance over other reliance if I was to ever do it again in the future. Which, of course, I won’t. :)
It sounds like two very different births, Norah! Your preference for self-reliance shows your strength and independence, not that I doubted those qualities in you for a second! You’re awesome.
They were very different, Christy. Thanks for your kind words.
I meant every word xx
Thank you. 💖