Some women go into their child’s birth feeling calm, cool and collected. They simply trust in their body's innate ability to grow and deliver a baby. But others, no matter how hard they try, have a harder time calming their nerves. It's understandable because birth can be unpredictable. It can also be especially anxiety-inducing if you've never been through it or have had a difficult experience in the past.
Often times, women feel at a loss for what to expect. And it’s true that there are a lot of unknowns which can leave women scared and overwhelmed. What will it feel like? Will I be able to handle the pain? What if something goes wrong? These are all normal questions that most women who are about to become mothers have asked themselves.
But if you're feeling anxious about your upcoming birth, here are some gentle reminders that will help you to relax and trust the process.
1) Your body was uniquely designed to give birth- While birthing, which we often hear compared to running a marathon, requires strength and endurance, it’s different than other physical challenges. That’s because your body was uniquely designed to grow, nurture, and push out a baby. If you’re worried about your own strength or capabilities, don’t be. You already have all of the tool you need within you. Your body already knows hows, even if you aren’t quite privy to these inner workings yet. Soon enough, you will be.
2) Relaxing during delivery is a powerful aid- Worry has never been known to help a woman through her delivery. On the other hand, relaxation during delivery is an incredibly useful tool. When a woman’s body relaxes through labor, rather than tenses, the process can move more quickly and easily. It may be easier said than done, but when your body stays open, it is able to do its work far more efficiently. Relaxation has to do with many factors, too. Things like your environment, how you’re treated during delivery, your support system and whether you use pain management techniques, all can play a crucial role in your ability to relax while giving birth.
3) There are plenty of proven comfort measures you can use- You don’t have to walk into your labor without comfort measures, even if you’re planning an unmedicated birth. In fact, many women who have unmedicated births discover that because they are able to move freely during delivery, they have shorter and easier deliveries. Utilizing gravity to walk or sway and allow your body to open is an amazing tool. It can also help keep you feeling more comfortable an in control. Visualization, massage, getting in a tub of warm water, and even gentle words of support can all help provide comfort during even the most challenging parts of delivery.
4) Your baby knows how to be born- What we often don’t realize about delivery is that we aren’t the only ones doing the work. Our body is working hard to bring our baby into the world. But amazingly, babies have their own techniques for being born, too. Often times, a baby does a series of moves that include turning to arrive the in perfect position, and sometimes that doesn’t happen until well into the labor. But the idea that your baby actually has some inborn knowledge of how to come into the world, too, is actually pretty amazing.
While there is no one way to get zen about your upcoming delivery, feel comforted by the fact that women’s have given birth for centuries upon centuries. You are no less capable or powerful than every single birthing person who came before you. Harness the knowledge that your body is incredible, you have the power to control your own mind, to move in a way that feels comfortable to you. And also remember, you aren’t alone; your baby is working hard in there, too. So relax, breathe, and you’ll be meeting one another soon enough.