If you're like any other mom-to-be out there, then odds are good that you're a little bit worried about what will happen when you finally give birth -- and possibly even a little scared too. Well, as it turns out, having a fear of childbirth can make your labor & delivery even longer, according to a new study from Norway.
The findings of the study found that women who had a fear of giving birth took 47 minutes longer on average to deliver their babies than those who weren't afraid. Researchers say the correlation is possibly due to the fact that having anxiety can increase hormones called catecholamines, which might weaken the ability of the uterus to contract. (Huh. Very scientific, but it definitely makes sense.)
When I had my son, I was a little bit fearful of what might go down in the labor & delivery room, but I wouldn't say I was terrified or anything like that. But I did wind up having a 24-hour labor, so I can't help but wonder if things would've progressed faster if I'd chilled out a bit more?
But then again, it's only natural to be nervous and anxious about an experience that you've never been through before, so eliminating all worry and fear about childbirth is kind of far fetched. But there are a few things you can do to calm yourself down and prepare for labor & delivery so you won't be as freaked out when you check into the hospital.
1. Learn your breathing techniques -- Doing the whole breathing thing is kind of cliche, but it really does help to center your mind and calm you down when labor sets in. Make sure to set up a class a few months before you give birth.
2. Create a birth plan -- Think about how you want things to play out during your delivery, and make sure to communicate your birth plan to your doctor or midwife and nurses. If they have a clear idea of your wishes & preferences, you will be less nervous about what happens during delivery.
3. Pack stress relievers -- Make sure to pack a CD with soothing music, or even your favorite movie to pop in while you're laboring & waiting to dilate. Lightening the mood in the room will take the edge off.
4. Take a hospital tour -- If you plan on giving birth at the hospital, make sure to tour different labor & delivery wards in your area to get a feel for where you are most comfortable. Knowing where you are headed when labor sets in will help calm your nerves.
5. Talk to your doctor -- If you have any major questions or concerns about giving birth, communicate those to your doctor and talk everything out with him/her well before your due date. You'll feel so much more reassured and ready to deliver if you get everything out on the table ahead of time.
Are you nervous or fearful of going through labor & delivery?
Image via SharonaGott/Flickr