Being stressed out at delivery has complications you may not be considering right now. Let’s talk about pain management options that allow you to be in control during your delivery.
This episode was inspired by my post on stress at delivery.
Big thanks to our sponsor The Online Prenatal Class for Couples — if you’re looking to stay in control and decrease your stress at delivery, TAKE a prenatal class. Understanding the steps along the way, and what’s a normal bump in the road will TOTALLY help you out!
The reviews are amazing >> check them out here!
How Stress at Delivery Can Affect Your Baby
In this episode
The benefits and concerns of stress during pregnancy & delivery
- Increase your blood pressure
- Increase your use of “vices”
Info on marijuana in pregnancy
Understanding your pain management options
Other things that might interest you
Producer: Drew Erickson
Check out my other pregnancy podcasts:
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[00:00:00.205] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, guys, welcome back to the Pulling Curls Podcast. Today on Episode 85, we’re talking about stress and it’s something that I really didn’t notice until… I don’t know, 15 years into my nursing career? Just how stress really affects the baby at delivery. So let’s untangle it.
[00:00:23.825] – Hilary Erickson
Welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast, I’m Hilary, your curly headed host on the podcast, where we untangle everything from pregnancy, parenting and home routines. I want you to know that there are no right answers for every family. And I find that simplifying my priorities is almost always the answer. It’s tangled, just like my hair.
[00:00:48.415] – Hilary Erickson
OK, guys, before we get started, make sure you’re subscribed and while you’re subscribing, don’t forget to leave a review! It really helps other people find us and I really appreciate it.
[00:00:58.195] – Hilary Erickson
OK, so I remember the delivery I was in. The patient was just losing her mind, which is 100 percent fine, totally prepared for this. And honestly, because I had worked at a hospital that did not have a lot of epidurals initially, I was very used to this type of delivery, but just screaming… Very out of control. You know, I was doing my best to keep her under control, but there’s only so much you can do. Didn’t have a lot of family support, all that kind of jazz.
[00:01:21.445] – Hilary Erickson
So, baby comes out and it’s just like unamused. Does not want to breathe, does not want to do anything. It was just like how I would feel after I had run a marathon. I would lay down on the grass and wish that God would take me home. Right? Like, you know, I could just tell that this baby was just pooped out. And I realized that it had gotten all those same hormones from mom. But at the same point, it’s just this little tiny person who has not dealt with that type of stress before.
[00:01:47.845] – Hilary Erickson
So let’s talk a little bit about stress and how it can affect you both during pregnancy. And also then we’ll circle back to at delivery.
[00:01:57.995] – Hilary Erickson
Do you feel prepared for your delivery? In just three short hours, you can be prepared for the competent collaborative delivery you want, you’ll know what to expect and how to talk with your health care team. And there are no boring lessons in this class. I’ll use humor, stories from my 20 years in the delivery room to engage both of you. I love how Alissa told me that she found herself laughing at things that used to sound scary. Most of all, you guys are going to be on the same page from Bump to Bassinette.
[00:02:22.805] – Hilary Erickson
Join the online prenatal class for couples today. You can save 15 percent with coupon code UNTANGLED. You can find the link in the show notes. So some stress during pregnancy is really important, your baby needs to experience those types of hormones while it’s in the womb because it will have those types of hormones when it comes out. So small periods of stress, though, you know, you have a stressful bill that you need to take care of. Or there’s stressful moments at work.
[00:02:50.125] – Hilary Erickson
I actually I kind of enjoy some stressful moments at work just because it keeps me on my toes and stuff like that. So those types of things are great for when you have a baby inside of you. OK, so short term stress, small stressors are great. They’re good for you, they’re good for the baby. Everyone has them. There’s no way to avoid them in general. The problem is the longer term stress, if you’re in a relationship that is sucking the life out of you or in a domestic violence relationship.
[00:03:13.555] – Hilary Erickson
Side note, if you are pregnant and in a domestic violence relationship, reach out. There are a lot of people willing to help you get out of that relationship so that you and baby are in a safe place. But a super stressful long term work environment. That’s not so great. So we’re thinking longer term stressful. And I honestly… Covid could kind of go into those depending on how you’re handling covid all of the things that came with it. It could be a long term stressor.
[00:03:37.615] – Hilary Erickson
Now, as I said, a lot of it is how you’re handling it. So a lot of people have very stressful lives, but they deal with it very well. Inside, they’re doing fine. They’re able to sleep. They’re able to do their, what we call activities of daily living without much interference by the stressful things. So that’s something to keep in mind, because a lot of times people will be like, oh, that’s so stressful, when in reality you’re like, oh, I love it.
[00:03:57.475] – Hilary Erickson
I thrive off of that kind of stuff. And if that’s the case that you’re sleeping and you’re able to do all those things in a stressful environment, then that is fine because stress can cause things like decreased sleep, and that’s not great for the baby, if you’re not sleepy because of the stressful thing. Changes in eating habits. You know, either you’re eating more, not great for the baby, or you’re eating less because you’re stressed out. Also not great for the baby.
[00:04:15.355] – Hilary Erickson
If the stress is causing things like this, then you got to think, oh, this is handling the bigger picture in this point. It can increase your blood pressure. Obviously, we know that people who lead a very stressful life can have higher blood pressure. You know, if I’m running from a bear and I had a blood pressure cuff on which, gosh, I hope I don’t run away from a bear with a blood pressure cuff on, it would be very high because I’m stressed out and blood is coursing through your body and your body is made to increase your blood pressure at that time so that you can make decisions and actions that will keep you alive from said bear.
[00:04:43.585] – Hilary Erickson
Now, I’m just envisioning myself running away from a bear with a blood pressure cuff on. So there you go. Another thing I was looking when I was kind of researching this topic is a lot of times people turn to their vices when they are in serious, stressful times. So that could be smoking, it could be drinking, it could be marijuana’s so legal anymore, it could be those types of things. So I know if you’re thinking about taking marijuana or considering it, I do have a post on what usually happens in the hospital.
[00:05:07.735] – Hilary Erickson
If you were to take marijuana so you could check that, I’ll put the link in the show notes. So by turning to these vices, obviously these are not super healthy things, like if your vice is going on walks and breathing, then that is an OK device. But if your vice is smoking, especially during pregnancy, we would like you to limit that. So that’s something to think about. So when you have these long term stressors, studies show that it increases your chances of having a premature baby, which means they’re born before thirty seven weeks or having a low birth weight baby, which means that they weigh less than five pounds, eight ounces.
[00:05:35.365] – Hilary Erickson
So, and, you got to think that all of that is happening because there’s probably less blood flow or less adequate blood flow to the baby during the pregnancy because you’re trying to run all of these other different things, increasing your blood pressure, those kind of things. And then if you’re eating wrong or all those other things, you can just have more complications. So that’s just something to consider. Now, they are always like, oh, it can cause PIH. Now it can increase your blood pressure, and, which can increase your incidence of PIH, pre-eclampsia.
[00:05:58.495] – Hilary Erickson
But in general, stress isn’t going to cause because PIH it’s something that’s growing along with a baby from the very beginning, so that’s something to consider. Now, if your blood pressure is high, that’s definitely something to talk with your doctor about. But it may not be PIH. Sometimes just high blood pressure, which is different than pre-eclampsia. So some to talk with your provider about. OK, so back to stress at delivery because delivery is obviously a very stressful time.
[00:06:18.985] – Hilary Erickson
It is basically your body running away from a bear with a blood pressure cuff on. Now, the picture is much more vivid because I’ve obviously seen that. So you’ve got to think if baby and you if you are going through these super stressful times and you’re not in control, you’re feeling like you’re running away from that bear. Instead of feeling like I can do this, I can handle this, baby’s feeling that, too. And then they come out and they’re just super tired.
[00:06:38.635] – Hilary Erickson
So how do we prevent you from feeling so very out of control, running away from a bear, during your delivery? I just came up with a few things that you guys can do to really try and keep that type of stress, right before baby is born, at bay. Obviously, I would recommend taking a pain management class. So some people feel this type of stress, even with an epidural in because they’re expecting that epidural to work one hundred percent and they’re still feeling some pain and they might be feeling some anxiety over what’s coming.
[00:07:03.325] – Hilary Erickson
So understanding what the pain management options are going to do for you can be really helpful. I recommend understanding that. And of course, I go over all of that a lot in my prenatal class. But you can also take something more like hypno babies where you’re kind of putting yourself in a self hypnosis that you can handle the pain better. And honestly, man, if hypno babies had been more available and online because I didn’t really have time to go to classes in the Bay Area back in the day, but if it had been more available, I really would have done it.
[00:07:29.935] – Hilary Erickson
And I think it would have been helpful with the old teenagers right about now, so I’m a big fan of hypno babies, in fact, I’m such a fan of it, I give my class 50 percent off if you take hypno babies, I’ll put all the links to all that in the show notes. At least that’s what I do currently at this time. So check out the link in the show notes. This is episode 85, Stress at Delivery.
[00:07:48.865] – Hilary Erickson
The other thing I think is important is to have a frank discussion about this with your partner or whoever is coming into the birthroom with you. So just say if they feel like you’re getting out of control because a lot of women are like, do not offer me the epidural, do not talk about the epidural. And I think that that’s unfair to you because, you know, if you don’t know what your labor is going to be like and by not even offering or discussing the epidural at all with your partner or your birth team, that’s doing you a disservice because there may come a point in time where you really need it.
[00:08:18.235] – Hilary Erickson
And I think that that is true of every mom I know. I see moms on Tik-Tok who are like I did it so natural because I did X, Y, Z. And I think, but your baby came out in a mere number of hours. If you’re going in, you have to have an early induction because of of things that are going on with your body. You’re fighting an uphill battle and you’re going to be more tired than that.
[00:08:36.235] – Hilary Erickson
And yeah, so I just think it’s something to talk about with your partner in advance. I don’t want an epidural. I would like to not talk about the epidural. But if you’re noticing that I seem out of control, let’s have like a safeword or something where you say, you know, honey, I think it’s something that you should consider. Because we don’t want the baby to have this type of stress on them before it comes out, because again, it’s a lot easier to feel like you’re running away from a bear in labor if you, first off have no idea what’s going on, which is why you should take a prenatal class.
[00:09:02.155] – Hilary Erickson
But also you haven’t had any sleep. You’re super uncomfortable. Nothing’s making it better. And it’s just going on and on and on. That’s why I think it’s good to have a supportive partner who understands that you don’t want to be out of control. If you’re feeling in control and all that type of things, at least they can bring it up, be like, hey, babe, how are you feeling right now? Are you feeling in control?
[00:09:20.635] – Hilary Erickson
Do you feel like this is something you can keep handling, and have that type of discussion. And again, whatever pain management option you choose and labor is just a pain management option that you choose in labor. There are no prizes. There’s no victory for getting an epidural or not getting an epidural. It’s just making it through that point in time, because I promise that getting an epidural or not getting an epidural is not the worst parenting choice you’re ever going to make.
[00:09:43.445] – Hilary Erickson
I… Not by a long shot. There are a lot of other things you’ll do as a parent. You’ll be like, oh, it probably wasn’t a great choice, but you don’t know this in advance and you’re trying to keep your baby perfect. So just some ideas about stress at delivery. I think a lot of people feel like that as long as they can just make it to get that baby out, that they’ve done a great job by not getting an epidural when in reality, if they’re just too out of control, maybe that’s not doing their baby a huge service when it comes out.
[00:10:06.625] – Hilary Erickson
Anyway, just some thoughts. I would 100 percent recommend getting a prenatal class, though, because I always say, like, it’s like riding a roller coaster in the dark if you have no idea what’s coming up. I mean, I love Space Mountain as much as the next person, but I wouldn’t want to do it if I didn’t know that I was going to get back there safely. And you have fears and stuff like that during labor. So I always recommend just kind of having an idea of what’s coming up.
[00:10:26.995] – Hilary Erickson
And that’s what a prenatal class totally does. It gives you just an idea of what to expect as you go in. People love my class. I’ll put a link to all of the reviews. I think I have hundreds of reviews at this time of people. You’ll see a few four star reviews, but most people give it five. They’re coming directly from the people and I love them. They’re like one of my favorite things when they land in my inbox.
[00:10:44.305] – Hilary Erickson
But people love my class because it really just prepares them in a quick, fun, informative nature. And I think it’s going to prepare you to have less stress at delivery.
[00:10:51.415] – Hilary Erickson
Thanks so much for joining us today. I hope we helped smooth out a few of the snarls in your life. We drop an episode every Monday and we always appreciate it when you guys share and review. Until next time, we hope you have a tangle free day.