Here is the truth behind many women's delivery room anxieties:
- "I'll be in labor for days." Not a chance. The average first-time labor is only 18 hours, and few providers will allow labor to last for more than 20 hours after your water breaks.
- "I'll totally lose control." Your ability to handle pain is greater than you know, and you'll be learning breathing and relaxation techniques before you deliver. In addition, it's seldom too late to ask for pain medication during labor if you really can't stand it.
- "My husband will faint." Very few men actually faint, and your partner will have a good idea of what to expect during labor if he goes to childbirth classes with you.
- "I'll have a cesarean delivery." You might, but the odds of having a vaginal birth are higher, especially if this is your first baby. Only 18 percent of first-time moms have cesarean deliveries.
- "I'll have an episiotomy, and it'll really hurt." Doctors perform episiotomies (surgical cuts made between the vagina and the rectum during labor) only about 20 percent of the time, and that number is dropping. Even if you have one, you won't feel it because of the pressure on your perineum from your baby's head and the light anesthetic your provider will administer beforehand.
Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.
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