Fear of labor pain? Here's what helped me! Tanvi's birth story
*This is a podcast interview in the series - Regular Moms | Regular Birthing Stories*
You have found out you are pregnant!
And the first thing you experience apart from happiness is usually fear of the unknown. Many women have shared that labor pain is something they are most afraid of.
When we spoke to Tanvi Jain, a 24 year old new mom, she confessed that she was motivated to have a normal delivery without any pain medications!
“What about the labor pain?”, I asked her. She said its possible to cope with it! Want to know what helped Tanvi? Read the whole article!
Watch her entire video interview here :
“I always wanted a baby!” Tanvi shares, so when she found out she is expecting she was surprised and happy. She shares the initial months of her pregnancy which were hard due to morning sickness. When she started feeling better, around her 7th month, that's when she started preparing for the birth of her baby.
“Unless advised, I opt to have a normal delivery without epidural”, Tanvi told her gynecologist!
She shares the specific things she did in her third trimester and most specifically her labor that helped her cope with the pain. Tanvi shares in great detail what happens in a normal delivery, how labor pain feels like and what she did every time she had a contraction.
This interview is raw, candid and most importantly honest. Its an interview every pregnant woman needs to watch and get inspiration from.
“Everyone called me delicate darling. But now its stopped because this delicate darling birthed a baby!” Tanvi very correctly shares.
You can also hear it in podcast (audio only) here :
Tanvi is wearing this gorgeous maternity short top! Add this to your wardrobe now!
Fear of labor pain? You need to read on!
How to cope with labor pain?
A 2019 research done in India states that 45.4% women reported fear of childbirth. In the developed nations this number is around 20%. An astounding 6-10% of women report a fear that is crippling in nature. Why is this so common if women were built to give birth?
Is this only the fear of the unknown as we don't know just how much pain is labor pain?
Or is it because cinema has shown labor pain in a horrific almost traumatic way, with the woman screaming in pain. Let me tell you as someone who has also had a normal unmedicated delivery, that with the right information and knowledge it is possible to birth a baby naturally.
Here's what you can do to help you get there!
Listen to positive birth experiences!
The most common birth experience you will come across are traumatic. If you look at movies, they portray childbirth as extremely horrific. However this creates a false visual in our minds and conditions us to expect the worst. Listen to positive birthing experiences. Listen to mothers talking about how they coped with a natural birth, what helped them. You will soon understand that all your fear and anxiety, is a fragment of imagination. You have no idea how your birthing will be, and its better to imagine good! Listening to positive birth stories will help you feel calm and relaxed and more ready to meet your baby!
Remember you are built to birth!
This is easy to say but very hard to put into practice. Which is why preparing is so essential beforehand, Women have been giving birth since time immemorial. Millions of women give birth naturally around the world!
A 2018 research done in Australia found that only 28% women have given birth vaginally. The reasons for this are manyfold - high maternal age, pregnancy complications like low lying placenta/ gestational diabetes.
Birth of your baby is a special and unique time in your life and every single living thing on the planet can come from the same process. Think about this and it somehow reminds us that its possible! You are not the first woman to give birth and you wont be the last! Your body was made to do this, its your trust in yourself and your capacity that will help you!
Brush up on your knowledge of a normal delivery process!
This one is so important so please read this!
Birth was meant to be comfortable as the main hormone thats released in a contraction is - oxytocin- the feel good hormone. This hormone is released when you are happy, when you hug/ cuddle, when you have an orgasm. This helps you feel bonded and connected - the exact same emotions you feel for your baby!
However, if you are frightened or anxious or stressed, your body releases adrenaline. This hormone is the enemy of oxytocin as it does the exact opposite. This hormone prepares your body to face danger - so when its released, it will prepare you for flight of fight.
It increases your heart rate and pumps blood to your hands and legs. Hands to help you fight and legs for running. But these body parts are not needed in birthing! The blood needs to go to your uterus to help the muscles contract and push the baby out naturally!
Did you get it? No wonder labor is painful as most women are not relaxed! You are stressed, anxious and afraid and so adrenaline is more than oxytocin!
The goal is to relax and let oxytocin take over this beautiful experience!
Learn to breathe correctly and take Lamaze / yoga classes to prepare for birth!
This one is a game changer.
Please remember that a natural labor contractions come in intervals. So there is time between contractions where you get to relax. When you are in the middle of a contraction - there are specific breathing techniques that you can use which help ride over the contraction.
Tanvi has demonstrated one technique she used when she was in labor in the video and you need to see it right away!
I cannot stress the importance of attending a prenatal class or Lamaze class to prepare for birth. Its very beneficial to know exactly how to breathe, exactly where to push when baby is coming out and practice these exercise in the months leading up to your due date.
So even though labor will be new, the other stuff like breathing right and knowing how to push a baby out will be second nature to you!
Learn chanting / positive affirmations!
Tanvi states that she would chant the mantra of the God she believes in when the contractions got intense. She says that if you feel like screaming, start chanting. The same principle applies here : screaming will again release adrenaline and chanting will release oxytocin.
Try to close your eyes and imagine your baby taking birth in a smooth and easy way when you are chanting. If you don't have a chant, try a positive affirmation - such as - I can do this! I am strong! - while visualizing the birth!
Please remember that it helps immensely if you have practiced these techniques 2-3 months prior to your due date.
Your goal is to stay as calm as possible and let oxytocin do its job!
Stay active / do prenatal yoga to cope with labor pain!
This one is super important!
Tanvi shares, “Our lifestyle has become sedentary, our food is adulterated, air is polluted. Our ancestors had better health and life expectancy and they were so active and ate clean”.
With the availability of easy labor, many of us are stuck to our chairs and desks and this in turn deconditions the body. As long as pregnancy is progressing without complications, most women are allowed to do yoga and mild exercise like walking.
Tanvi has shared some yoga exercises she did in her last month, with the consent of her gynecologist and its a must listen!
The point is to listen to your body and not push it to the point of exhaustion. You can walk 20 mins daily after talking to your gynecologist and take prenatal yoga sessions which actually prepares your body for birth.
Staying active will also build endurance which is needed to push the baby out!
Build a support system to support you in labor!
In the olden times, women lived in communities and would be surrounded by the elders who would guide and support. As civilization advanced, our families grew smaller and most women report to having no support system while being pregnant.
Make sure you surround yourself with people who support you, encourage you and cheer you on. From your spouse, to your parents, to your close friends. Keep these people near you and try to stay away from those that discourage you. You need to hear - You can do it! Support goes a long way in keeping our spirits up and giving us confidence when self doubt creeps in.
Choose who would you like in the room when you give birth. Many women prefer husbands and this is a personal choice. Choose the place you are going to give birth in after researching, Many hospitals don't give women the time and space they need to enjoy birthing. They rush to deliver, they continuously disturb the mother with needles and cathetors, they want the job done as quick as possible again increasing stesss and adrenaline in the mother's body.
Have a talk with your gynecologist about your expectations around your birth and how you wish to be supported. Finding the right doctor is half the work done!
A study done in 2015 proves that when women are supported in all the stages of labor, it gives rise to shorter labor, reduced cortisol in mother and lower stress levels.
Another study done in Sweden saw normal delivery rate to go up to 56.6% when several factors were considered.
Remember that no matter how your birth goes, the end is beautiful - your meeting with your little one!
Every birth is different, every story is unique and you need to go with the flow!
IMPORTANT :ALL VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THE ARTICLE ARE REAL EXPERIENCES OF REAL MOTHERS. FOLLOW YOUR GYNECOLOGIST'S ADVICE WHO IS THE BEST JUDGE OF YOUR PREGNANCY.