The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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Raise your comfort level with these tips to cope with pain and labor. First, decide who and what will be with you. Then learn about what you can do with your body and mind during contractions. You’ll be amazed at your ability to discover and stay in your comfort zone.
1. Find a Soothing Environment
Your birth setting must feel safe to you. It should have space to walk and bathe, as well as a variety of furniture and devices to enhance movement and pain relief: a CD player, rocking chair, birth ball, low stool, squatting bar and soft bed. It should also have policies that encourage you to try a variety of positions. Access to appropriate medical care is crucial if problems arise.
2. Choose Your Team Carefully
Knowledgeable, caring midwives, doctors, nurses, partners, loved ones and doulas create a supportive birth team. When you’re treated with respect and patience, stress and inhibitions decrease, and you can more easily find your best coping mechanisms.
3. Learn About Labor
Find out everything you can about labor from books, magazines, Web sites, videos, classes, a hospital tour and discussions with your health-care provider, doula, family and friends. Familiarize yourself with the procedures and customs at your hospital or birth center, and ask about flexibility. Such discussions are best had before labor. More knowledge means fewer surprises.
4. Express Your Fears
Are you worried about pain and labor, needles, medicines or losing control? Speak with a knowledgeable and trusted friend, childbirth educator or doula. Voicing your concerns can bring relief as well as practical solutions to your concerns. Stating your preferences in a birth plan can also help calm fears.