Posted: Mar 25, 2012 2:30 PM
 
As your due date approaches, if you're feeling scared -- make that terrified -- to give birth, you're not alone. It's very common for moms-to-be to experience anxious feelings about the process of having a baby. So what can you do about it? Well, number one: Stop stressing! And, number two: Read this article for some ways that could help you cope with your fears.

Don't watch TV

For the next few weeks at least, say goodbye to your favorite medical drama or any television show where the storyline is about a woman giving birth. While these shows are entertaining, that's all they are -- entertainment. Not reality.

According to an article in the Journal of Perinatal Education, one explanation as to why many women are scared to give birth is its negative portrayal in the mainstream media. On TV, pregnant women are often shown in a state of panic as they are rushed to the Emergency Room. Once at the hospital, the woman screams about the pain and demands drugs, which usually elicits a laugh in comedies. In dramas, as often as not, some life-threatening medical emergency arises that requires a team of personnel to rush the woman to the operating room where she, her baby, or both, nearly die but are miraculously saved by some combination of modern medical technology and an attractive doctor. I’d be willing to bet that most people have seen some, if not many, variations of this chain of events on their favorite medical-themed TV show.

Don't stress about medication

For every person out there that tells you it's acceptable to be medicated during pregnancy, there's another person who will warn you against it. The bottom line: The choice is yours. If you're stressing because you can't decide what's right for you and your baby, take a deep breath and relax. You don't have to make the decision about whether to have an epidural now. You can wait until you go into labor. Once you are in the moment, you (and your body and your baby) will know what you should do. Trust us!

You're not the first, you won't be the last

Millions of women before you have given birth to healthy babies and millions of women after you will birth healthy babies, too. If you've selected medical professionals that you trust to help you when the time comes to bring your little life into the world, you can rest assured that everything will work out. Worrying about what "could happen" is only going to cause you unnecessary stress and anxiety that neither you nor your baby need. Just remember, you can do it!

Plus, if it was that bad, no one would have more than one

Take notice of all the moms out there with multiple children. If labor was really so awful, would anyone have a second, a third... or more? Just remember that in the grand scheme of things, the process of giving birth is just a blip compared to the rest of your life that you'll spend with your child.

More about the third trimester

The third trimester: Will the baby ever arrive?
The top 5 things no one tells you about the third trimester
The third trimester: A guide to your baby's development

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Ami Burns June 16, 2012
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Great article! As a childbirth educator/doula, I especially like your info about meds or no meds -- I can't stress enough the importance of taking a "wait and see" approach. I hope tons of pregnant women read your article - they need this info!