At week 39, your baby is fully developed and anywhere from 17-23 inches long and weighs 6-10 pounds. You are about to complete your momentous journey. It’s about time when everyone must be sitting on the edge of the chair, biting nail and picturing the baby’s arrival. Of course you too must be brimming with joy. However, it’s undeniably true that you might be dreading the actual moment of delivering your kid. While just about every woman feels some anxiety about giving birth, 6 percent to 10 percent of pregnant women suffer intense fear. This can manifest itself in such symptoms as nightmares, heart palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath, a racing pulse and difficulty concentrating. Fear and its associated stress can also cause more serious problems that may contribute to both early and late deliveries, smaller babies, a higher risk for an emergency Cesarean section and choosing a medically unnecessary C-section.
However, some mental preparation can come handy in these distressful times.
How to combat anxiety:
1. Let’s dig deep: Certain experiences can trigger an intense fear of labor. These include a history of abuse or rape; a past miscarriage or stillbirth; a previous difficult delivery; and excessive exposure to traumatic labor stories. It is vital to face your fears and fight the blues. Be strong enough to get over every emotional impediment that is rendering you weak.
2. Don’t fear. Prepare for the D-day: Start identifying and dealing with your fears. Chances are good that your worries are deep-seated, and it can take time to get to their root and address them. Anxiety tends become most intense as a woman's due date approaches, so try to get a jump on the source and solutions as soon as possible.
3. Hello therapist: Talking to a therapist will take away the fear of being judged. An open discussion can do you much benefit and leave you light headed.
A study conducted in Finland found that women with an intense fear of labor who underwent cognitive (talk) therapy had shorter labors and fewer unnecessary C-sections than those who didn't.
4. Learn relaxation skills: Meditating and deep breathing exercises while you're expecting can help calm you during pregnancy and labor. Listening to guided-relaxation tapes that describe your perfect "peaceful place" is another effective option. Soothing music, sound of ocean waves or wind chimes will take your blues away.
5. Sharing is caring: Don't hesitate to tell your doctor that you're afraid; just talking about it may help, and she may have ideas about how to reduce your anxiety. Sometimes just learning the factscan put your mind at ease.
6. Write your blues away: Create a one-page birth plan that includes your desires about such options as pain medication, laboring positions and fetal monitoring as well as an honest explanation of your fears. Share it with your caregiver during a prenatal visit and have a copy ready to give to the nurses when you're admitted to the hospital. Knowing that your caregivers are aware of your concerns will help reassure you.
7. Shut out the pessimists: Don't watch scary TV shows about childbirth, read horror stories or listen to friends recount the gory details of their labors. Some experts believe that fear of delivery has become more widespread since the advent of sensationalized depictions of childbirth.