How confident did you feel before going into labour?

(28 Posts)

There's been a lot of recent anecdotal evidence and studies to suggest that women who feel mentally prepared for labour and childbirth had easier, more straightforward births with minimal intervention. Those who have a lot of fear and trepidation about the birthing experience apparently take longer to fully dilate and are more likely to wind up having complications.

I was just wondering if this is all total rubbish, or whether this matches up with your experiences of childbirth, particularly with your first? Would be interested to hear your thoughts... (Can you tell I'm nearing my due date?? grin )

CuppaSarah Sat 16-Feb-13 12:25:58

I was feeling pretty damn confident yesterday, but today now I'm actually in the early stages of labour I'm not so sure. Ladies who have put themselves through this multiple times I am in awe.

PunkyPod Wed 13-Feb-13 21:16:22

I felt really prepared and confident. Then BAM first contraction! Was in full blown labour contracting every 3-4 minutes within an hour, no build up at all. Laboured for 21 hours, pushed for almost 3 before DD came with ventouse suction. Horrid barbaric experience at the end hmm

MyDarlingClementine Mon 11-Feb-13 16:17:39

Perversly I was always terrified of labour my whole life but when my contractions started - gently over two days before I was in established labour; I felt very calm! I waited at the last moment to get to hospital instead of rushing at the first twinge etc..

My established labour was a few hours and I had a small tear.
Once it was all going and I was in pain, it was obvisouly too late to back out and you had to just get through it.

Having said that - it was still grim.

AmberLav Mon 11-Feb-13 13:59:03

I was really relaxed before it started. Mild contractions started Thursday morning, and then by 4am on Friday they were consistently 3 minutes apart and painful. Went to get assessed at 12 noon on Friday to be told I wasn't at all dilated!!!

Came home, had a bath, things slowed slightly, but by 10pm, I was again at 3 minutes apart, but nothing was that different than 18 hours earlier. By 4am on the Saturday (when I'd barely slept at all since Wednesday night) I went back down to the hospital with the plan of begging for pethidine, so that I could sleep. Was feeling fairly panicky at this stage, but amazingly got down to the hospital to be told I was 6cms. After that I relaxed totally, and DS was born by 7.30am. The relaxation lasted despite the 3rd degree tear and slowing contractions, as I knew it was nearly over!

What made me panic was not the pain, but the possibility of the pain lasting days and not being able to sleep in all that time! So I suppose it was fear of the unknown.

Due again in 9 weeks, and this time I am mildly worried about knowing when I should go to the hospital, as the frequency didn't really change. I think the main difference was subtle change in pain levels - I couldn't walk through a contraction when I was 6cms... So hopefully that will be enough to focus on...

Not sure if this gives any help to the OP!

I think I read somewhere it's about the hormones released if you're scared or anxious about it can delay labour.

I was like you - looking forward to it. Not to the pain or whatever but the experience. Especially as my first had been a cs without a labour pain. I was looking forward to the challenge of it all and seeing how I would cope. It was brilliant. The most awe-inspiring experience of my life. Don't get me wrong, yes sore and hard work but I would do it all again without a second thought.

I got to the hospital and admitted in at 6cms four hours after the first pain. I did have pethidine (which was rubbish and didn't work). Twelve hours after the first cramp I had my dd without a tear or stitch. In fact it probably would have been sooner if I had of been allowed to walk about but because of previous cs I was on my back on the bed, hooked up to monitors and my waters didn't break. Soon as they broke them, baby 20 minutes later.

The moment you look at your baby and think I did that. You will never feel more proud of yourself.

CrunchyPeach Sun 10-Feb-13 13:31:22

I was more concerntrating on the pain & breathing/screaming through it than feeling nervous. When in the hospital when I was just about8-9 centermetres.. I was scared to high hell & just didnt know what was going to happen even though I had watched a few live birth vidio's through internet.

I had no drugs or pain relief apart from gas & air in which I couldnt take as it made me vommit, I did it all 'au Natural'! After though it was magical as soon as you hear that little scream of your childs.. it completly melts your heart & the pain that you felt just goes away & you feel such a adrenaline high.. its unreal!

All worth it!!!! With no pain relief I had 1 long stitch, no medical care afterwards like I didnt have to stay in over night etc. Just FANTASTIC! Going through labour though was like being kicked in the vagina by a horse but that really is the crowning bit towards the end! smile

Rainbowbabyhope Sun 10-Feb-13 11:32:44

Adrenaline is your enemy during most parts of labour as it can slow down/stop contractions. Panic and fear are totally counterproductive. If you are confident in your ability to give birth and can stay calm and relaxed for as long as possible you encourage your body to produce all the good hormones which progress labour like oxytocin. Might be easier said than done but was certainly my experience with DD1. I absolutely loved giving birth to her - was the most amazing experience and I think it was mostly because I refused to give in to the fear.

I didn't mean "confident" as thinking you know it all and exactly how your labour is going to go - I do realise that childbirth is an ever changing beast and it doesn't frighten me. What I meant was more your attitude towards pain and the experience - as in, if you are mentally prepared for the roller coaster or living in total denial!

PuffPants Sat 09-Feb-13 20:43:53

Any confidence is false confidence. You have no idea how it will go. All sorts of things can happen that nobody could predict and you will not know in advance what your response to that will be.

I felt pretty confident first time round. Well, I'd done my NCT, read Ina May Gaskin and bought the hypnotist thing cd. I was ready for anything.

Trouble was, baby hadn't done quite such thorough preparation and, in the end, we had to do things his way.

Next time, sadly, I won't be able to be so blissfully ignorant.

MadameJosephine Sat 09-Feb-13 20:34:09

I felt pretty confident. I had a crap experience with my first (induced, continuous monitoring, epidural, 2nd degree tear,PPH) but since I had him I've re-trained as a midwife and supported lots of women through labour. So I decided to practice what I preach, I did natal hypnotherapy, got a TENS machine, stayed on my feet, practiced my breathing exercises and delivered DD kneeling with a bit of gas and air for the second stage, intact perineum and a 100ml blood loss. I was over the moon, the whole thing went exactly as planned and I felt quite proud of myself. The feeling when she slid into the world was something I will never forget

utopian99 Sat 09-Feb-13 20:26:45

I felt like I'd prepped all I could and was very overdue so like another poster said I very much had a 'bring it on, let's get it out' attitude.
That said i'd read the hypnobirthing book and been doing the natal.hypnotherapy cd (best of both worlds,) and so genuinely believed there was a chance i could hypnotherapy myself through it on gas and air! Not quite true but managed on that and a diamorphine jab and only took 6 hours from start to finish (the mw notes say 2.45 hours active labour!, ha!)

Honestly don't think it was that bad and was told afterward he was back to back. More than all the hypno side I think the 7 accupuncture sessions made SO much difference so both speed and pain. Will be straight on to booking them for dc2.

amyjayde Sat 09-Feb-13 18:05:19

I felt really prepared and confident, my labour was very long but I enjoyed every second and the actual birth was amazing I didn't find it easy but it wasn't as bad as people say, I think it helps to do lots of reading and mentally prepare yourself smile

FuriousRox Fri 08-Feb-13 23:06:59

First time - felt confident, well prepared and excited, and had a smooth gas & air natural labour.
Second time - anxious, hesitant, stressed, and ended up with fuckibg awful forceps delivery.

Oh, and in terms of the labour, it went well - no 'interventions', no tears, gas and air, pool, bit of morphine. It hurt a lot, but I was confident it would all end well.

I was pretty confident - I knew that ANYTHING could happen, and went in with a totally open mind.

But, man was I scared when my waters broke at 2am!

Jayne266 Fri 08-Feb-13 22:05:58

For me being in labour for the first time I didn't know what to expect so I couldn't feel confident but stayed calm. And all went well

nomadwantshome Fri 08-Feb-13 21:51:24

Dc1 not worried about at all, was looking forward to it.. However, was overdue with waters breaking and meconium. I had slight anxiety at that point but very laid back durin labour to the point of mw pointing that fact out. But I still didn't dilate on cue. Pain hit like a freight train then. had the hurry up hormone to record levels with not much help. Then gave in to epi. Went thought the night, and ended up with a ventouse.

Dc2 again not worried about it. Planned a home water birth and went like clock work but I was annoyed at how much it hurt! Does that make sense?

It seems to be hereditary to have more difficult 1st births in my family. 2nd always comes more easily and without pain relief

Shellywelly1973 Fri 08-Feb-13 21:35:23

With my first 3 i was terrified...it got worse the more i had!

So when i was pregnant with Dc4 i started looking for stuff to help me manage that fear. I discovered Hypnobirthing. I bought a couple cd's & thought it was probably a load of crap but i listened to them everyday for about 8 weeks.

It seriously helped! I've had another baby since & Im expecting Dc6. The fear of giving birth hasn't returned & Im not actually worried about giving birth at all. Its a relatively short period of time!

IncognitoIsMyFavouriteWord Fri 08-Feb-13 21:22:59

before I went into labour ie the days leading up I was terrifed. When it actually happened I was quite calm. I had a bath, spoke to my friends for half an hour on the phone without letting on grin I then watched the first ever pop idol auditions and an audience with kylie. it got really painful after that so I just laid on my bed till I went to the hospital.

Hmmm, mixed responses.

I just wondered as I'm pretty laid back about childbirth and what will or might happen, but a friend of mine who is only a week and a half apart from me in due date is absolutely terrified and very panicky about it all. I feel bad for her and have tried to explain to her that we're designed to do this, and she needs to trust in her body, but she's very unhappy about the whole thing (whereas I am a weirdo and quite looking forward to the experience!)

Suppose I'll find out in a month or so, though, eh? grin

CailinDana Fri 08-Feb-13 12:57:21

Just realised I didn't actually answer your question! I was absolutely desperate for labour to start. I was 40+5 and absolutely shit sick of being pregnant and couldn't give a toss how things went, I just wanted it to happen. I wasn't the least bit scared when I was in labour, apart from one particular moment when we were getting booked in at the hospital, there was too much going on and I lost grip for a second. Then the MW gave me gas and air and all was well with the world again! From there on in I just got on with it and it all went smoothly. I'm glad I was calm as I think it would have been a lot harder if I'd been worried/scared. I do feel though that things went well because DS was in a good position and I kept mobile.

Jac1978 Fri 08-Feb-13 12:51:24

I was scared witless and my birth was over with in a couple of hours (first birth) so that's rubbish I'm afraid!!! Don't worry you will be fine x

N0tinmylife Fri 08-Feb-13 12:50:37

I decided denial was the best way forward, and tried not to think about labour, until it actually happened. It seemed to work, because I was not that worried, even when MIL, bless her, spent an hour telling me how labour was the most horrendous pain she'd ever experienced, in great detail! I spent the evening before I was induced in the pub, not drinking obviously, to keep my mind off it.

I had a fairly quick labour, 5 hours from when they broke my waters. For most of it I was fine. I panicked a bit immediately after they had broken my waters, because the pain was suddenly so intense, and again in transition, but for the rest of the time I felt OK and in control. I did end up with ventouse though.

I do think being as positive as you can has to help.

CailinDana Fri 08-Feb-13 12:46:49

I think fear will definitely play a part because being panicky and upset will raise your stress and make you cope with the pain less well. Stress hormones could interfere with the labour hormones and slow labour down, and fighting the pain rather than going with it could mean that your labour progresses more slowly. However, it's only part of the picture because if your baby is stuck/you have problems with blood pressure or some other medical problem then no amount of positive thinking is going to help.

Labour is unpredictable - you can be 100% prepared and comfortable and things can still go wrong. Having a confident frame of mind is great as it will make things easier and less frightening for you, but it won't necessarily make for a better outcome.

Despite having a bit of a labour related freak out at around 28 weeks, I felt great the day I went into labour.
Wasn't quite sure I was in labour as not in a lot of pain, midwife was due out to see me at 3.30pm anyway so I just waited until she came out. I was 7cm dilated.
Straight up to hospital (40 miles away) arrived at 4.10pm, pethadine injection, couldNt have gas and air as the holding the wee bitey thing in my mouth made me feel sick.
they broke my waters for me after a wee while, two pushes and she was born at 4.53pm.

No tears, just a bit of grazing. She was back to back as well, which I didn't know. Maybe if I had known that I would have had more fear.

Similar story with DS 21 months later, except I was aware I was in labour and went to the hospital earlier. But because I'd had such an easy time of it with DD, I just assumed it would be the same when it could have quite easily been completely different.

I think ignorance was bliss and that a positive frame of mind did help me.

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