Labor Fears: 5 Real and 5 Not-real Worries about Labor and Delivery

Most women have at least some level of anxiety when it comes to childbirth. First-time moms are especially prone to worry about the unknown, and some even have a straight-up phobia of childbirth, called tokophobia, that goes far beyond normal levels of worry.

But just relax, mama. Humankind exists because of childbirth. You can do this! Information and education are your best defense against stress and worry.

Here are 5 things many women worry about but shouldn’t, and 5 things that are actually worth your concern regarding labor.

Not real

Pooping

The idea of pooping while laying with your legs wide open in front of a bunch of strangers is definitely embarrassing, but this will be the LEAST of your concerns during labor. In fact, a lot of women do poop during labor and don’t even notice. Nurses are so quick to clean it up and with everything else coming out of you, poop will be no big deal.

Being hairy

Many women worry about whether or not to shave before labor, considering how many people will be peeking down there. First of all, if you can even manage to shave your legs at 9 months pregnant, props to you. But shaving your va-jay-jay should not be high on your priority list. In fact, it might cause irritation and itching, which is much worse than hair. Your doctors and nurses don’t mind.

Not making it to the hospital in time

This is one of those fears that is most prevalent among first time moms who don’t realize how long labor takes from beginning to end. Most likely it will be hours, even a few days, between the beginning of real labor and actual delivery. Of course, you will hear the stories of the women who give birth in the car, but the odds of this happening are low. More often than not, women get to the hospital too early and get sent home.

Pain management

Modern medicine has provided pain management techniques that mean you will hardly have to feel anything during labor if you choose. However, if you want a pain-med-free childbirth and are worried about the pain, realize that labor pain is not constant. Contractions come and go, so you have time to breath and brace yourself. There are things you can do besides medication to manage the pain, also. Breathing techniques and trying different positions can help you manage pain.

Your vagina will never be the same

You will be surprised at how elastic you are down there, and how good your body is at bouncing back. The tiniest of women have given birth to 9 and 10 pound babies without tearing or episiotomies. Even with tearing or an episiotomy, your body is incredibly good at healing itself. Give it time, but don’t worry about this one.

Real

Premature labor

This fear is worth your focused time and attention. Pay attention to your body and don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor with any worries of premature labor. Learn the signs and how to differentiate between Braxton Hicks and true labor contractions.

Holding your breath

It’s natural to hold your breath during contractions and pushing, but it’s very important to keep breathing during labor and not hold your breath. Your doctor and nurses will keep reminding you to breathe, but pay attention to your breathing and even practice breathing techniques before labor so you are ready.

Feeling pressured into decisions

Having a birth plan is a good idea, but it’s important to be flexible. That said, it’s okay to ask for explanations and understanding of procedures before you agree to them. Most unplanned procedures are done for the safety and wellbeing of the baby or you, but it’s okay to ask questions and make sure you feel good about them before agreeing.

C-sections

Let me clarify – it’s okay to be worried about the possibility of a C-section, because it is a major surgery. However, it’s important to do your research into the reasons for a C-section. They are often done to save lives. If you don’t have any complications during pregnancy or previous pregnancies your chances of having a C-section are not big, but it’s still important to understand how they are performed so you are not wracked with fear if you must have a C-section.

Endurance

When you realize you’re in active labor, your adrenaline will be pumping and you’ll probably feel very eager. However, active labor can take hours or longer, so it’s important not to over-exert yourself, especially when you have a chance to rest. When you’re finally fully-dilated and it’s time to push you will need your strength, so try to conserve your energy for the end.

What were your fears about labor?

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Safe Skincare to Use During Pregnancy

One of the things I struggled with most during pregnancy was acne. Deep, cystic acne that really hurt. Which didn’t seem fair when added to my very swollen ankles and 24/7 nausea. It was also difficult for me to find safe skincare to use during my pregnancy. So, here is some information to consider when it comes to safe skincare, and as always, double check with your healthcare provider if you’re concerned about any product you’re using.

Products/Procedures to Avoid

Retinoids
Retinoids are a type of vitamin A that are meant to help prevent acne, wrinkles and other skin issues. Which you’d think would be great during pregnancy, but they can actually be harmful. Oral retinoids (like Accutane) have been found to cause birth defects. And, while there’s no evidence that topical retinoids have the same result, most doctors will recommend that you avoid them entirely, just to be safe. If you don’t want to use topical retinoids, avoid the following:

  • Avage, Fabior, Tazorac (Tazarotene)
  • Avita (Tretinoin)
  • Differin (Adapelene)
  • Panretin (Alitretinoin)
  • Retin-A, Renova (Tretinoin)
  • Retinoic acid
  • Retinol
  • Retinyl linoleate
  • Retinyl palmitate
  • Targretin gel (Bexarotene)

Cosmetic and/or Laser Procedures
Doctors advise that you avoid procedures like Botox, Dysport, or fillers of any kind. You should also avoid invasive laser treatments. Because there have been no studies about the impacts of these procedures on pregnancy, most health care professionals will encourage you to avoid the unnecessary risk to your unborn child.

Prescription Strength Acne Medications
In general, you should avoid the following acne treatment medications during your pregnancy:

  • Doxycycline (generic names: Oracea, Vibramycin, Doza, Atridox)
  • Minocycline (generic names: Dyancin, Minocin, Solodyne, Myrac)
  • Spironolactone (generic name: Aldactone)
  • Tetracycline (generic names: Sumycin, Actisite, Panmycin)
  • Isotretinoin (generic names: Accutane, Amnesteem)
  • Tazorotone (genenric names: Tazorac, Avage)

These medications all fall under the FDA’s “X” category for pregnancy. Which you can read more about here.

Products to Try

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
While it’s true that most non-prescription products found at your local drugstore are safe to use during pregnancy, using an AHA is your safest bet. Glycolic acid is the most common AHA, and is derived from sugar cane. Even though it’s considered the most effective product to use for pregnancy skincare, it’s still a good idea to make sure that you’re not using too much, or at too high of a concentration. Typically, products with a 10% or less concentration are safe to use. But don’t be afraid to consult your OB or Dermatologist if you’re unsure.

Organic Skincare
Eliminating the amount of chemicals you’re exposing your skin to can also be helpful during pregnancy. Two of the brands that come up most often are Eminence and Juice Beauty. Both brands depend on plant-based ingredients that have not been treated with pesticides or other chemicals. No parabens, synthetic fragrances or artificial dyes are used, which is a bonus for your skin. Sometimes all you need are high-quality products with fewer ingredients. You can also ask your dermatologist for her recommendations.

At the end of the day, you might have to fight a bit of a battle with your skin to get your baby here. I know I did, but I felt at peace about the decisions I made for myself and my baby. And you will too! Luckily, technology and products are being developed every day that help provide help and relief. Remember to listen to your mama instinct, and never hesitate to consult an expert!

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The Final Countdown – To-do List For the Final Weeks

It’s so exciting to FINALLY enter the third trimester, but it many women attest that it tends to drag on and on. The anticipation of the big day can make time stand still, but there is a lot to be done before baby arrives. Here are some ways to stay busy and get prepared during those final weeks of pregnancy.

Get everything set-up for baby

If you haven’t already, make sure baby’s sleeping place is ready, and that the car seat is installed correctly. If you’re unsure, take it to a child passenger safety (CPS) technician who can check it for you and teach you how to do it correctly.

Prioritize yourself

That little baby is going to demand a lot of attention, so use these last few weeks to prioritize yourself. Get a pedicure, sleep as much as possible, blast music in the car, go out with friends – do things that make you happy and treat yourself.

Stay Hydrated

Especially since you don’t know when the big day will come, it’s so important to stay hydrated. Labor is demanding and exhausting, and in order to be properly hydrated for it you need to be drinking enough water days in advance, so always be sipping on some. Your body is pumping extra blood in order to take care of that baby, supply amniotic fluid, and maintain important body processes so make sure you are drinking enough water.

Stay active

As long as your doctor has given you the okay, keep exercising through the third trimester. Staying active can help you sleep better, help with digestion, and can even help with an easier labor. Walking, prenatal yoga, and swimming are fantastic third trimester workouts.

Get maternity pictures

You may not love it now, but you may look back at pictures and miss that big baby bump. Seeing pictures will make you reminisce about the miracle of pregnancy and the incredible experiences of feeling baby kick, seeing baby on the ultrasound, and all that your body went through for that perfect baby you now hold in your arms. You won’t regret getting maternity pictures taken.

Attend a breastfeeding class

Hands down one of the best things I did to prepare myself for motherhood was attend a breastfeeding class. I learned so much I would’ve struggled to learn on my own, and it prepared me for success. Most hospitals offer them and some are run by the community or local health department, so do a quick search and sign up for one.

Stock the pantry and freezer

Don’t expect to be ready to go shopping for a while after baby is born, so keep your kitchen stocked during those last few weeks to make sure you’ll have plenty when it’s time to come home from the hospital. Making freezer meals for easy dinners and buying lots of your favorite snacks to have on hand will be so helpful during recovery.

Watch for labor signs

Lastly, make sure you’re aware of the signs of labor and are paying attention to your body. Now is the time to track contractions, baby movements, and pain to make sure all is well with you and baby. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor with any concerns you have. Pack your hospital bag well in advance and have a tentative birth plan in place so that if the day comes earlier than expected, you are ready.

 

What did you do to pass the time during your last weeks of pregnancy?

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