Terrified of childbirth? 10 ways to cope

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Terrified of childbirth? 10 ways to cope
21/10/2013
Terrified of childbirth? 10 ways to cope | Fox News
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Terrified of childbirth? 10 ways to cope
By Julie Revelant / Healthy Mama / Pub lished Octob er 20, 2013 / FoxNews.com
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Pregnancy is an exciting time, but sometimes the fear of labor and
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delivery – as well as becoming a mom – can be overwhelming. If
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you’re anxious about giving birth, find out why you might be feeling this
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way and what you can do about it.
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Why fear?
Julie Revelant
A woman’s body is designed to give birth, but TV shows, movies, and LATEST HEALTH VIDEOS
media messages often dramatize it. And as a woman grows up,
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“those images are ingrained in her head that birth is fearful, and it’s
Em ail
harmful,” according to Tara Owens Shuler, president of Lamaze
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to the birth process itself, can also cause a woman to be anxious and
even doubt in her ability to give birth.
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Terrified of childbirth? 10 ways to cope | Fox News
Taking into account induction, C-section, and pain relief options
during pregnancy, the fear can be intensified. “Birth in some settings
is seen as a medicalized event,” said Owens Shuler. She added
some providers want to take control of a woman’s birth, and medical
training often focuses on intervention, rather than on birth as a natural
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“There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty that’s unspoken,” said Dr.
Francine Lederer, a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles, Calif.
Lederer said apart from the pain, women deal with a host of emotions
during pregnancy. They put expectations on themselves and stress
out about giving birth naturally, bonding with their baby in utero, and
being a good parent.
If you’re worried about giving birth, here are 10 ways to handle your
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Get educated
A childbirth class can help you prepare, give you confidence, and
manage your fears. A childbirth educator and a doula who provide
information that isn’t fear-based can help debunk myths and give you
ways to manage the pain, Owens Shuler said.
Choose your provider carefully
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“We know that health care providers can profoundly affect women’s
experience in birth,” Owens Shuler said. When looking for a provider,
it’s important to ask questions and select someone who will build your
confidence and support your decisions.
Let go of expectations
Many women put a time limit on labor, worry about opting for or
against an epidural, and that other people will judge them for their
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decisions. And that pressure can impact your experience. “There
aren’t any expectations except for the ones they put on themselves,”
said Lederer, who runs a support group for expectant moms.
Try relaxation exercises
Deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation and
mindfulness meditation can all help to calm your body and your mind,
so you’ll have less anxiety.
Use guided imagery
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Terrified of childbirth? 10 ways to cope | Fox News
Practicing visualization can help you imagine a safe place if you start
to feel overwhelmed during labor, Lederer said. Working with a
therapist, childbirth educator, or support group is best but you can
also download guided imagery exercises.
Make a mind body connection
Fear can cause labor to last longer, according to a recent study in
BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. But if
you bring awareness to what’s happening in your body during labor,
you’ll be better able to deal with your emotions, Lederer said.
Stop the stories
Your friend’s childbirth experience may have been traumatic for her,
and although she might think she’s being helpful with her advice, “it’s
really information that fuels the anxiety,” Owen Shuler said.
Understand the purpose of pain
Unlike any other type of pain, pain during labor and delivery doesn’t
need to be fixed and it actually serves a purpose—to bring your baby
into the world. If you recognize why it’s there and know ways you can
cope with it, you’ll feel more confident in dealing with it.
Make it your own experience
Instead of comparing yourself to other moms, make decisions based
on what you can handle and how you react in a situation, Lederer
said.
Get support
Talking about your fears in a support group setting or with supportive
mothers can help ease your anxiety. If your fear of childbirth is
overwhelming, however, you might want to speak with a therapist.
Julie Revelant is a freelance writer and copywriter specializing in
parenting, health, healthcare, nutrition, food and women's issues.
She’s also a mom of two. Learn more about Julie at
revelantwriting.com
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This material may not be published, broadcast, rew ritten, or redistributed. ©2013 FOX New s Netw ork, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.
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