Calming Your Labor and Delivery Fears
Experts provide the calming and reassuring advice you need for a successful labor and delivery.
"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 delivery
day draws near, it can certainly seem as if the "what ifs" are raging
out 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 date
"If your first
pregnancy was easy, you worry that your second one will be hard; if your
first one was hard, you're terrified that history will repeat itself. And if
you've never done this before, well, your imagination can simply go wild as you
begin to imagine every worst-case scenario possible," says high-risk
obstetrician Laura Riley, MD, author of Pregnancy: You and Your
Riley says that even the calmest mother-to-be will likely experience some
anxiety as labor and delivery turns from a chapter in that pregnancy book to an
episode of real life.
"It's part excitement, part anticipation, and part pure fear of the
unknown. But it's also a time when some realistic concerns come to the
forefront. And it can begin to feel a bit overwhelming, even for the calmest
women," says Riley, a professor at Massachusetts General Hospital in
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 to
easing your fears.Â
"The truth is, the only person controlling things on delivery day is
your baby, with maybe a little help from Mother Nature," says Riley. So
even if your birth plan is as detailed as War and Peace, she says
chances 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 concern
about labor and delivery and discuss them with your doctor long before your due
"Knowing that you and your doctor share a similar birthing philosophy
can go a long way in calming your fears," says obstetrician Isabel
Blumberg, MD. "And if you find out you're not in agreement, it's better to
find out early so you can both compromise on some issues, or if need be, you
can find another doctor who is more in tune with how you want to deliver your