Monday, July 2, 2012

Fear of Childbirth Can Make Labor Longer

I came across an interesting story which was written in response to a study published in BJOG:  An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.  The study looked at the "fear of childbirth and duration of labor."  The study found that "duration of labour was longer in women with fear of childbirth than in women without fear of childbirth."  They found that labor was roughly 1 hour and 32 minutes longer in women who feared childbirth.  "After adjustment for parity, counselling for pregnancy concern, epidural analgesia, labour induction, labour augmentation, emergency caesarean delivery, instrumental vaginal delivery, offspring birthweight and maternal age," they found that labor lasted 47 minutes longer.

I found this study intriguing.  While I find the entire birth process fascinating, I did notice that my delivery slowed down when the pain made me too tense.  I had to get induced because my water broke but I had no contractions.  Contractions brought on by induction can be quite painful and pretty regular.   I would tense up when the contractions started which made me stop progressing.  Once I got the epidural, I was able to relax enough to even fall asleep.  Once I awoke from my nap, I had progressed enough that I could start pushing!  What my body was fighting for hours finally happened once I relaxed from the epidural.  I will have to remember this when I am going into labor this time around.

Until then, to ease anyone's fear of labor, I found these tips online to be quite useful:
  1. Step away from horror stories and birth videos.
  2. Get advice from other moms
  3. Know what to expect
  4. Let your birth partner know what to do
  5. Keep these things in mind
    1. There is always the option of pain relief
    2. Childbirth is safer than ever for both mothers and babies
    3. As labor progresses and gets tougher, you're that much closer to meeting your baby.
I found tips #2 and #3 to be especially helpful.  I got a lot of my questions answered and fears conquered by reading pregnancy message boards and forums.  It was nice to be able to ask questions and read answers for questions I had never thought of on these forums.  It is also helpful when forums are categorized by due date so you can read about and share experiences with people going through the same things you are.  I have never been afraid to ask questions and I found that when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth, there are never too many questions.  Good luck to all those moms who are ready to deliver.

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