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Old 11-15-04, 09:35 PM
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Cool Coping with anxiety over labor pain

If you're feeling a little nervous about the process of giving birth, you're not alone. You know deep in your heart that labor will be, well, challenging. On top of that, you've probably heard a few labor-room horror stories. So who wouldn't be anxious? Yet it's important that you face labor with a calm assurance that all will go well. Nervous, panicky women seem o suffer more pain during labor and even may require more pain medication. Serene, confident women appear to weather the pain.

HOW TO CALM YOUR WORRIES
**Review what you've learned in your childbirth-education classes. If you know what to expect during labor, you won't be as frightened as your contractions intensify and become more frequent.

**Read all the books and magazine articles you can find about giving birth. Because each women's labor is different, it helps to become familiar with a variety of anecdotal histories of labor.

**Plan to participate as fully as possible in the birthing experience. Preparing a birth plan or birth script will help clarify your goals.

**Share your fears with your partner. Let him know that you're counting on his strength and support during labor.

**Remind yourself that labor doesn't last all that long. The average is 14 hours for the first-time mothers - and most of that is in the relatively easy first stage of labor. Also, remind yourself that the memory of labor pain often is erased by the euphoria of seeing your newborn.

**Seek emotional support from a friend, perhaps someone you've met at your childbirth-education class or perhaps someone that you have talked to here on TBC,

**Remember that the anesthesia is available. You won't be considered a "failure" or a "quitter" if you ask for it. There are anesthetics available that when given at moderate levels are considered safe for you and your baby and that will allow you to participate fully in the birth.

** Remember that women throughout the ages have given birth successfully, with or without classes, anesthesia, and even medical supervision.
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