Shattering six common pregnancy and childbirth fears wellness mama antiemetic drugs list

Note from Katie: My good friend Genevieve Howland, aka Mama Natural, has one of the top resources for natural pregnancy. She just released her beautiful new book, The Mama Natural Week-By-Week Guide to Pregnancy Childbirth and is sharing from some of her research today. Enter Genevieve:

I remember spending tons of time researching and reading and attempting to empower myself before going into labor with my son, and still having a major case of the jitters. There were just so many unknowns; I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be ready.

That’s right, I said it. And yes—horror of horrors—some women poop while giving birth, right there in the birthing tub or on the hospital gurney. And while that probably ranks way up there on your list of “most embarrassing things that could ever happen, ever,” it really shouldn’t be all that surprising.

First, know that while pooping during delivery is totally possible, it probably won’t happen. The prostaglandins your body releases to help the cervix efface and the uterus contract also have a cramping effect on the bowels. (In the twenty-four hours before I went into labor with my son, I must have gone to the bathroom no fewer than twelve times—by the time I was ready to push, my bowels were pretty much empty.)

But if you do end up doing the ‘doo, you probably won’t even realize it. Nurses and midwives have plenty of experience quickly and discretely cleaning up any accidents, so as not to distract you from the real work at hand. Seriously, these ladies have seen everything—they just wipe it up and keep it moving.

Whatever you do, don’t hold back during the pushing phase out of fear that you’ll poop in the delivery room. You’ll risk lengthening your labor, increasing the pain, and upping your need for interventions. Fear #2: What If We Don’t Make It to the Birth Center in Time?

The thought certainly crossed my mind, and the second time around my fears were almost realized: As we were driving to the birth center on the day of my daughter’s birth, I very nearly instructed my husband to pull over so I could deliver our little bundle right there in the Volkswagen. Fortunately, we arrived just in time—I was “complete and +2” in case you’re wondering—and very nearly delivered my baby on the gurney.

So you’ve tried moxibustion acupuncture and visited a Webster-certified chiropractor. You’ve had an external cephalic version. You’ve spent the last nine months balancing atop a birthing ball. But now your due date is merely days away, and your baby is still positioned butt-first. What to do?

If you choose to move forward with a vaginal delivery attempt, know that your odds will improve significantly if you’ve got a skilled provider who takes a “hands-off” approach. Mamas who’ve had one previous vaginal delivery may have a higher chance of success than first-timers. Fear #4: What If I Have “Back Labor”?

As for pain relief, counter pressure works wonders. Have your partner, doula, or labor support person use a ball type massager or apply pressure to the points located on either side of your spine. Or try leaning forward in the shower and directing the flow of hot water directly onto your back.

Thankfully, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released new guidelines in 2014, redefining the start of active labor as dilation to 6 centimeters (rather than 4) and urging doctors to allow women to labor longer, so long as the baby is not in distress.

According to the new standards, first-time mamas should also be allowed to push for at least three hours, longer if they’ve had an epidural. These changes, however, take time to implement. Your doctor may still adhere to the old standards. How Can You Lessen Your Chance for an Unnecessary Cesarean?

It starts by getting informed. I’ve just published the first week-by-week pregnancy guide from a natural perspective. Featuring insights from a certified nurse midwife (who happened to deliver both of my children), as well as a registered nurse and doula, the book is packed with helpful info on: