5 Signs That Childbirth May Be Hard For You
Childbirth is known to be hard. It’s called labor for a reason. But does it have to be?
If you feel unsupported or lonely during your labor and birth, if you are caught off guard or feel like you don’t know what to expect if you have a history of abuse or trauma, certain health conditions, or are thinking about childbirth negatively, or if you have a care provider who is on a different page than you are when it comes to birth or bedside manner, these are all reasons why someone may report childbirth as being hard.
Read on to learn more about each of these circumstances and what to do about it so that childbirth is less hard for you.
1. Feeling Unsupported
There are many reasons why support is very important for an expecting family and lack of support could be an indication that childbirth may be particularly difficult for you. It feels very comforting to receive support while pregnant and that support can come from many different sources: your partner, a best friend, a nurturing figure in your life, or others. Whether you receive support from trusted family or friends, hiring a doula can make pregnancy and birth less difficult. Doulas provide education, guidance, and non-judgmental listening, essentially holding your hand through the end of pregnancy and childbirth with informational, emotional, and physical support. Doula care is an invaluable resource for many new families.
2. Unfamiliar With Birth
There is a lot about childbirth that isn’t common knowledge for the average person. If you find that you are feeling unfamiliar with all that childbirth entails, now is a great time to get yourself educated. Your unfamiliarity could lead to fears and confusion around the process. Once you become familiar with labor and childbirth, not only will you have an idea of what to expect but you will likely also be more knowledgeable on how to support and prepare yourself for labor. Preparation could look like: taking a childbirth education class, learning pain coping techniques and comfort measures, hiring a birth doula, or knowing what to pack in your hospital bag.
3. A History of Untreated Trauma
If you have a personal history of trauma or abuse, you may find that certain aspects of childbirth could be triggering for you. Now is a good time to address any significant trauma you have experienced, especially if it involved sexual or bodily abuse. For many expecting parents, making their mental health a priority as much as their physical health is a defining decision for how they will experience childbirth and early postpartum life.
4. Certain Health Conditions
Some existing health conditions are known to create a high-risk pregnancy which can also make childbirth especially challenging. Those conditions include high blood pressure, preeclampsia, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), diabetes, kidney disease, autoimmune disease, thyroid disease, obesity, HIV, and others. If you feel that your health could potentially impact your childbirth, it is important to speak with your midwife or doctor about a plan of action so that you and your baby remain safe and supported. Knowing ahead of time what type of interventions or medical support may be necessary to keep you and your baby safe can help laboring people to integrate and prepare for the type of care they need. Knowing what to expect and having realistic expectations can make labor less difficult.
5. A Negative Mindset
There are certainly a number of things about childbirth that many people can and do worry about. However, excessive worrying and a negative mindset about childbirth could make it more difficult for you. Processing your fears or any negativity you may harbor with a therapist who focuses on pregnancy and childbirth may be helpful. For expectant parents who would like to shift their mindset toward the positive, take time to find and read positive birth stories. It can be easy to become negative if you have never heard any positive stories about birth. Intentionally seek out people who had positive birth experiences and listen to their experiences. There are many things to look forward to and to be excited about, such as: holding your baby at the end of arduous labor, having your desired birth, experiencing a “butter birth” (described as when a laboring person reports little to no pain, has a short labor with no tearing nor extra bleeding), or perhaps you are excited about attempting an “orgasmic or ecstatic birth” (described as when a laboring person reports experiencing one or many orgasms during childbirth). Your mindset impacts your thinking and your experiences which is why at this time it is so important to do what you can to make childbirth something that you excitedly anticipate, rather than dread. Some find that meditation and positive affirmations help them to conquer a negative mindset thus increasing their satisfaction with childbirth.
The truth is, many people find childbirth to be difficult and there are some indications that may show that you’ll be one of those people. If you don’t have the support of family friends or a birth doula, if you don’t know much about birth, if you have a history of untreated trauma, if you have certain health conditions or if you think and feel negatively about childbirth, then you may have a more difficult time than others. The more things on this list that resonate with you show an even greater need for support.
The good news is that the support you need is available. Check with your insurance carrier to learn which services may be available for little to no out-of-pocket costs. There are also great resources like Postpartum Support International.
Consider working with a birth or postpartum doula for all of your emotional, informational and physical needs, or find a mental health provider with the right experience to support you during the perinatal and postpartum period. Boober can help connect you with either type of support and others to help get you feeling your best about childbirth, pregnancy, parenting, and beyond!
Laura is a doula, a writer, and the mother of two incredible kids. When not supporting new families or her own, you can find her trying out new recipes in the kitchen. Laura is available on the boober platform for matches.