Labour and birth fears end here
Labour and birth fears end here
10:48 (GMT+2), Tue, 11 September 2012
Discovering that you’re pregnant is probably one of the most exciting moments in your life, but as the excitement wears off, the reality of the situation sets in, and it can be a little overwhelming and evoke feelings of fear and anxiety. Hundreds of questions run through your mind, like how you’ll manage the labour pain, and what you’ll do if something happens to your baby during birth. And then there are the horror stories we often hear from family and friends. Read on to find out the facts behind these fears, and how this knowledge can help you to not worry unnecessarily.
Fear #1: Losing the baby
With the advanced medical technology that’s currently available, stillborns are not so common in private practice, says obstetrician and gynaecologist at Tygerberg Hospital, Dr Saleema Nosarka. “Patients are screened thoroughly during pregnancy for potential risk factors, and if there are any risks, then plans are made. Those at risk can have Doppler tests conducted to assess placental function. If patients feel decreased foetal movements, then they should immediately go to hospital for foetal heart rate monitoring,” she says.
Fear #2: Painful Labour
This is perhaps the most common fear among pregnant women, and understandably so. And the graphic portrayals of giving birth that appear in movies and television, don’t make it any easier either. Durban-based mother of two, Ayesha, recalls, “I was so terrified of going through the excruciating labour pains that I had with my first child, that it used to get me down during my second pregnancy. Everyone tells you that it gets easier with each pregnancy, and fortunately for me, it did turn out that way.” Remember, this is the age of advanced medical technology, so you can always discuss with your doctor the various pain relief options, such as having an epidural or a pethidine injection.
Fear #3: Abnormalities or birth defects
With every pregnancy check-up, you’re probably on high alert for anything your doctor may say that sounds remotely scary. While you may know of other women’s tragic stories, it’s extremely important to be positive during your pregnancy. Dr Nosarka says that all patients should have a nuchal translucency (NT) scan at 13 weeks, as this, along with blood tests, can detect any possible abnormalities in early pregnancy. This will be followed by a detailed scan at approximately 20–22 weeks to check for foetal abnormalities. If you have any concerns, discuss it with your doctor.
Fear #4: Requiring an episiotomy
An episiotomy is an incision to enlarge the vaginal opening to help with the delivery of the baby. This is done when there’s foetal distress and the baby needs to be delivered quickly, or when there’s a chance that the mother may tear. “Episiotomies are not done routinely today,” says Dr Nosarka. “Healing can take a few weeks, as the area has to undergo complete wound recovery.”
Fear #5: Emergency C-section
For many women, their biggest issue when it comes to having an emergency C-section is not being able to have the natural birth that they had anticipated. Johannesburg mom of two, Samantha, says, “I had a wonderful natural birth with my daughter, but with my son, I had to have an emergency C-section. I was devastated that I couldn’t experience natural birth the second time.” On the medical front, Dr Nosarka says that an emergency C-section has no real risks compared to an elective C-section, and generally patients recover well.
By Mariam Akabor
Calm your labour and birth fearslabour, birth, Mariam Akabor