It is certainly understandable that any expecting mother would be nervous about labor pain, especially if this is her first child. In order to offset some fears you may have around labor pain, check out some helpful online materials to get some perspective such as this online publication from Parents.com.
According to Jennifer Krupp, M.D., maternal fetal medicine fellow at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, there are many options for managing pain to include narcotics, epidurals, other medications, and there are even non-pharmacologic options such as being in a tub, walking around, changing positions, etc. Krupp goes on to say that how much pain you undergo is well within your control and the assistance of your medical professional. Some women fear that if they elect for an epidural there is a risk of the epidural being ineffective. Although, James Woods, Jr., M.D., chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Rochester Medical Center cites, if the first epidural is unsuccessful then it is not a big deal to put in another.
If you’re among those many women who fear the agonizing pain of labor will linger for days, don’t be. Contrary to this misconception here is a more accurate depiction of the labor process: early labor represents the period of time where the cervix begins to dilate and thin out. This period of early labor can last a few hours or a few days, but many women at this stage describe it as not particularly uncomfortable. Active labor is the period of time when the cervix dilates to 10 centimeters and contractions are longer in duration and more intense. This stage typically lasts approximately eight hours, and most doctors will not allow labor to endure beyond 24 hours after the water has broken. In some cases a c-section may be necessary in order to produce a safe delivery for both mother and baby. The occurrence of a cesarean or c-section occurs about 30 percent of time in the United States overall, but the odds are more favorable that you’ll experience a successful delivery vaginally.
If you’d like to address more specifics about what to expect during delivery, consult the expertise of your healthcare provider. For additional fears you may have around the big delivery day, check out this article we’ve found to be helpful published by The Bump. Reading up on what to expect and discussing your concerns with your doctor are great ways to reduce fears associated with labor pain and mentally prepare you for what lies ahead.
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