Preparing for labor

You're probably thinking a lot this month about when labor will start and how your childbirth experience will go. A growing sense of tension during this time is understandable, as are worries and fears about whether your baby will be healthy.

You may also be spending some time contemplating the coming pain of childbirth. How bad will it be, really? How long will it last? How will I cope? These questions may be particularly persistent if this is your first baby.

It's natural to feel a bit anxious about labor and childbirth. After all, there isn't any way of knowing in advance just how your labor will go. But realize that women go through labor and give birth every day. It's a natural process.

You can do things now that can help you prepare for labor.

• Educate yourself. Knowing what's going to happen to your body when you give birth will likely make you less tense and fearful as it actually happens. With less fear and tension, your pain may be less, too. Childbirth classes are an excellent place to meet other moms-to-be and learn about the changes your body goes through in labor and childbirth.

• Talk with women who have had positive birth experiences. Learn what techniques worked for them during the labor and childbirth process.

• Tell yourself that you'll just do the best you can, given your circumstances and strengths. There's no right or wrong way to have a baby.

• Familiarize yourself with the various pain-relief options that will be available to you during labor. Try not to develop fixed ideas about what you'll use and what you won't. Until you're actually in the moment, you won't know what your needs will be. For more information on pain relief during labor, see "Decision Guide: Understanding pain relief choices in childbirth" on page 325.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

If Pregnancy Is Something That Frightens You, It's Time To Convert Your Fear Into Joy. Ready To Give Birth To A Child? Is The New Status Hitting Your State Of Mind? Are You Still Scared To Undergo All The Pain That Your Best Friend Underwent Just A Few Days Back? Not Convinced With The Answers Given By The Experts?

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