Calm, Cool & Collected | Fit Pregnancy

Calm, Cool & Collected

Being pregnant and giving birth should be joyous experiences, not anxiety-wracked ones. Here’s the knowledge you need to keep common fears from spiraling out of control.

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solutions} Childbirth classes and CDs teach various ways to cope with pain, with or without medication; options include the Bradley Method (www.bradleybirth.com), Lamaze (www.lamaze.org) and HypBirth (www.hypbirth.com). If you aim to give birth “naturally” but change your mind in the moment, don’t feel that you’ve failed. “Birth doesn’t have to be painful to be successful,” says OB-GYN Stuart Fischbein.



the fear} The delivery won’t go the way I planned.

the facts} When it comes to delivery day, no one can predict how things will go down. Carrie Brace, 34, of Denver, was three hours into labor (she was planning a home birth) when her midwife suggested transferring to a hospital because the baby’s heart rate was low. “I didn’t like the idea of unnecessary interventions that often take place in hospitals due to their mandatory policies and procedures,” Brace recalls. “I thought I would lose all control over my delivery.” Instead, the obstetrician and nurses followed much of Brace’s birth plan by limiting the number of people in the room and occasionally removing the fetal monitors. “None of my concerns materialized,” she says.

solutions} If your doctor or midwife is dismissive of your desires regarding giving birth, you might want to check out other options, Fischbein says. “You need a practitioner who actively listens so you can build trust during your pregnancy,” he adds. “Communication is key. But you also need to remember that your expectations may be unreasonable and that you need to respect the doctor, too.”

    Create a (flexible) birth plan with your partner so he can be your voice as you breathe through contractions. You also can hire a doula, a person who’s trained to be your advocate in the delivery room; visit www.dona.org to locate a certified doula in your area.

    If you want to avoid a Cesarean section, choose a care provider and a hospital that have a low (10 to 15 percent) C-section rate. Discuss your desire to avoid surgery with your doctor or midwife ahead of time, and ask how she decides when it is necessary. Doulas can help here, too: Continuous labor support has been shown to reduce the C-section rate by 26 percent. Also, doulas can help you at home.



the fear} The baby or I will be seriously injured or die during delivery.

the facts} Giving birth in developed countries is extremely safe, with maternal mortality at one in 2,800. As for babies, nearly all doctors and midwives use fetal heart-rate monitoring to detect potential problems during delivery. A variety of techniques, from changing positions to vacuum delivery to C-sections, increase the odds of a safe outcome.

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