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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7 Ways to Make Bed Rest Bearable

Bed rest can be prescribed during pregnancy to minimize certain pregnancy complications. Sometimes you might expect that it’s coming because of your medical history; others, it might come after a recommendation from your health care provider. It also varies from woman to woman, so you may find yourself completely confined to your bed, or on some sort of modified rest. And while bed rest is typically not the most desirable thing, it can be used as a time to help prepare for your baby.

Regardless of how extensive your bed rest is, here are seven ways to make bed rest bearable:

1. Binge watch your favorite show

Also known as, “Netflix and chill, for real.” You can either watch an old favorite or find a new show to devote your horizontal time to. Or, go for a movie series marathon. Maybe it’ll be Harry Potter, maybe Lord of the Rings. Or, go more sci-fi with Star Trek or Star Wars. And don’t forget to have a few of your favorite snacks while you’re at it.

2. Story time marathon

This is a good idea if you have other kids at home. Turn your resting time into a big story time marathon with your kids. Have them bring you a big stack of their favorite books and snuggle up for some quality reading time. (And if a little iPad time is thrown in there, I won’t judge you.) Alternatively, you can get a stack of books that you’ve been wanting to read, and have a great personal reading marathon.

3. Develop a new skill

For me, it was embroidery, but you could also learn to crochet, knit, or hone your drawing skills. You can even learn how to code. Since you’re fairly (or entirely) immobile during this time, it’s a great opportunity to seek out an activity that can be done while sedentary.

4. Online shop ’til you drop

While it can be frustrating that you can’t be out and about buying the things you’ll need for your new baby, you can shop online. It’s an effective way to still get the stuff done that you need to get done, without leaving the comfort of your bed or couch. And it can help you feel like you’re still a part of the nesting process. Don’t forget to add in a few post-baby clothing items for yourself, too.

5. Hire someone to clean your house

Since you’re down for the count, and your partner probably needs a break, you can use this opportunity to allow someone else to clean your house. Whether you hire someone to deep clean, or allow family or friends to help serve you, it can give you the peace of mind that your house is getting a nice deep clean before baby arrives.

6. Design a birth announcement for your baby

With all of the online resources available to design birth announcements, you’re pretty much set. Use this time to search for the perfect announcement, or to design your own. You can also go old-school and DIY your own handmade announcements. (This is probably a good idea if you’re not sending out that many, though you can do whatever you feel up for.)

7. Write thank you notes

Bed rest provides a bunch of time to get on top of writing thank you notes. Whether they’re for shower gifts or for random acts of kindness you’ve received during your bed rest, thank you notes are always nice to receive. You can also take the time to write a nice note to your partner about the things you appreciate about them, and express your excitement for your new addition.

Have you ever had to be on bed rest? What are some of the ways you made it bearable? 

 

 

 

 

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How to Deal With Pregnancy Insomnia

Pregnancy causes a lot of changes to your body. One of these changes can be insomnia, which, defined, is the perception of inadequate sleep or lack of quality sleep during the night. In order to understand how to deal with pregnancy insomnia, it is important to identify its causes and then to highlight ways to cope.

Causes

Pregnancy-induced insomnia can be caused by any of the following:

  • Back pain or other body aches associated with your growing belly
  • Heartburn
  • Having to wake up frequently to urinate
  • Feelings of anxiety or anticipation
  • Hormonal changes
  • Vivid, “strange” dreams
Ways to Cope
  • Avoid consuming caffeine or spicy foods, as they may trigger heartburn.
  • Engage in a soothing ritual before bed. Whether it’s taking a warm bath, enjoying a cup of herbal tea, listening to soft music, or having your partner give you a massage, find something that helps you feel calm and peaceful before bedtime.
  • Use a pregnancy pillow to help you get into a more comfortable sleeping position.
  • Try relaxation techniques like meditation or breathing exercises to help calm your mind and body.
  • When possible, try to nap during the day to make up for any lost sleep and to help rest your body.
  • Try exercising during the day.
  • If you are struggling to sleep and are finding it upsetting, try getting up and reading a book or having a glass of warm milk.

And, if you have tried all of these things and are still having a hard time falling asleep, please consult your health care provider. She may prescribe medication or have other ideas on how to deal with your pregnancy insomnia, so never hesitate to ask!

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