If you are, you are not alone! If you want to know the truth my biggest fear the first time around was instilled in me by a mom who told me she had gone diarrhea on the table while she was pushing. At the time I could not imagine anything much worse and so prior to labor I refused to eat much of anything because I wanted my stomach to be pretty empty to avoid this at all costs. Needless to say having a little bit of a bowel movement during pushing is fairly common and most women don't even know it has happened at all (makes total sense but I had no clue). But that one notion turned me into one starving mama after a lengthy labor on an empty stomach. :( It seems pretty much every thing we see and hear about birth from friends, family and the media is enough to freak anyone out! Does every woman really have her water splash on the floor and start screaming in pain, needing to be rushed to the hospital? You guessed it, the answer is NO! As a matter of fact only 10% of women actually have their water break before going into labor. Often when people come to a class and see educational birth videos it is pretty anticlimactic compared to dramatic births seen on TV or in the movies. Stories told by family and friends can also be disconcerting and unintentionally increase anxiety about birth just like the story I was told. So what is a "mom to be" to do? Here are a few tips to help you feel more confident about your upcoming birth! First of all remember that no two birth experiences are the same (even for the same woman). Just because your mom or sister or best friend's birth happened a certain way does not mean yours will be the same. I admit it is hard to ignore all of the information that comes flooding in either by choice or by accident but what you do with it can make all the difference.
Speak candidly with your provider about any current concerns at every appointment (making a list of questions is helpful so you don't forget),
Consider hiring a Doula.
Take classes geared towards your birth goals,
Tour the place you plan to give birth,
Read books or visit reputable websites online.
Make a birth plan with your partner so that you will be on the same page when it really is time to head to your birth place.
Your Birth Plan/Preferences are not set in stone so when planning remember to give yourself the flexibility you need to shift gears or go in a different direction as the situation dictates. It is OKAY to change your mind! Remember your family and friends are well meaning and their experiences count for a lot but if you see or hear something that truly freaks you out....take those concerns to your care provider, Doula or Childbirth Educator so you can get answers from the professional team you are trusting with your birth. You with thank yourself for it!