Worried Or Nervous About Giving Birth? Consult With A Midwife

Becoming pregnant and knowing that you'll soon have a little one joining your family should be exciting. However, many women feel a lot of anxiety and nervousness about their pregnancies and about giving birth. Most women experience some degree of fear related to childbirth, and 7.5% of women suffer from what can be considered abject terror.

Enduring your pregnancy in fear is not good for you or for your baby. In fact, the mere fact that you are afraid of labor could result in your labor lasting longer. In one study, women who were afraid of childbirth were in labor an average of 8 hours, while those who were not afraid were in labor for only 6 1/2 hours on average. If you want a shorter labor and a more enjoyable pregnancy, then you need to tackle your fear head-on. A great way to accomplish this is by working with a midwife.

How do midwifes help calm birth-related fear?

No matter how many books you read about the birth process, you will never get as clear of a picture of what to expect as you will when talking with a woman who has guided numerous other mothers through the birth process. Midwives' entire jobs revolve around delivering babies. They have seen and experienced it all, and they can answer your questions in detail, so you know exactly what to expect. When you know what to expect, you'll find that you worry a lot less.

Most midwifes offer pregnancy counseling as a part of their services. You can arrange to meet with your midwife, either one-on-one or with your partner, and simply talk about the changes you're experiencing and what you're afraid of when it comes to giving birth. Your midwife may even show you how to perform specific deep breathing exercises, stretches, and other natural treatments to alleviate your anxiety and relax your mind.

Will the midwife be there when you give birth?

If you want your midwife to be by your side when you give birth, arrangements can generally be made for this to occur. Some midwives practice in hospitals, and you can choose to have them oversee your birth rather than working with an obstetrician. Others guide patients through the birth process in their own homes, or in private practices. Midwives are trained to identify when medical attention is needed, and call in doctors only if required.

In other cases, you may be able to have a midwife accompany you in the delivery room that is being overseen by your obstetrician. In either case, having your midwife, who you have formed a relationship with over the duration of your pregnancy, in the room when you deliver can help keep you calm and confident throughout the birth process.

Is working with a midwife safe for you and your baby?

Midwifes are sometimes seen as being quacks or part of an outdated version of the medical system, but this is not true. While there may be some unscrupulous midwives practicing behind the scenes, you can ensure you're getting safe and quality care by visiting a certified midwife.

In the United States, midwives are certified by the Midwives Alliance, and they receive the title of Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) when they complete their studies. Some nurses also become nurse midwives, earning the title of Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM). Nurse midwives are more equipped to deal with medical complications and concerns. If your primary concerns are anxiety and worry related to labor and birth, you can likely have your needs addressed by either a midwife or a nurse midwife.

Fear of birth is not uncommon, and the haste with which many obstetricians answer their patients' questions and carry out exams does not always do a good job of making women feel more comfortable and confident about the process. If you're feeling anxious and worried, make an appointment to see a midwife today. Talking with a friendly, knowledgeable caregiver throughout your pregnancy will help you relax, so you can focus on what's important -- your soon-to-be bundle of joy.

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