Are you worried about birth? Getting anxious now that you've realised your baby will be in your arms soon? Don't fear, you have options to learn more and prepare yourself for labour and birth.
My #1 tip is be informed!
Speak to your care provider about your fears. They are there for you and will do their best to answer your questions. They can also talk you through some of the 'what ifs' of labour and birth and direct you to resources to support you.
Attend antenatal classes. This is vital! Whether you attend classes at the site you intend to birth at, or through a private provider, classes give you the opportunity to hear from an expert childbirth educator and speak with other expectant parents. There's nothing better than hearing the question you were a bit hesitant about asking come out of someone else's mouth! The Hypnobirthing Australia™ Classes that I run bring like minded parents to be together to learn and share the journey to birth and parenthood.
Access appropriate resources. Do not ask around your group of friends without being clear that you are after information, not horror stories! It can be cathartic for parents to tell their stories but if they are confronting and make you more nervous, they are not helpful. There are plenty of positive resources found online and through your midwife. The Positive Birth Movement (click here) has a number of resources that focus on the positive narratives around labour and birth. They are truthful and honest and also have meet up sessions that might be helpful for you.
If you have started having discussions about cesarean birth or professional intervention for your labour and birth, its OK. You can still have a positive birth, taking into account your preferences, wherever your birth takes you. You just have to be knowledgeable and know what you want. You are entitled to ask for the birth environment that best suits you, and you should have faith that your team will keep you and your baby safe. They will let you know if something you have asked for cannot be accommodated for safety or other reasons.
Finally, if you are finding your fear around labour and birth is becoming overwhelming, please speak to your caregiver or GP. Pregnancy is a beautiful time that you have the right to enjoy. If fears of labour and birth are taking that happiness away, you may need to seek specialist intervention. This is nothing to be embarrassed about and there are wonderful caring teams available to support you.
A final piece of advice, believe in your body and yourself. You can do this!
You have amazing professionals around you to support you, your partner and your baby. We all have the same goal in mind, a positive birth and a happy, healthy family!