Stress at baby delivery is something all moms need to take into account. Your stress gets transferred to the baby. Let’s find out how it affects them.
I’ve had a lot of people talk to me about the dangers of delivery.
I’m not sure why — unless I work with them I doubt they know much more about L&D than I do.
After watching babies be born for 16 years, I’d have to call myself a bit of an expert.
But, just recently (I’m talking in the last 5 years or so) I’ve started to notice something.
I’ve had a lot of freaked-out moms.
And I’ve had a lot of moms who didn’t want to get an epidural.
Some were prepared for it. They had taken classes in it or had really thought it through. Some even had an experienced and helpful doula.
But, more frequently I get a woman who feels like she “has great pain tolerance”.
Then, I get to hear her scream like a banshee for the next 12 hours until the baby comes out. Culminating her turning into the exorcist girl before delivery.
Sure all you labor nurse haters are saying that I’m standing to the side charting not caring at all — but I’m in there telling her to breathe as she pinches my boobs, kicks my stomach and screams obscenities — all the while refusing the epidural because it’s “what’s best for the baby.”
What happens next has started to make me take notice.
That baby comes out.
All those stress hormones, pumped into it’s little body from a mom who literally feels like she’s dying.
They come out, and they’re done. They don’t want to breathe, they don’t want to move. They want to just want a nap!
Only problem is — now is their turn. Time to cough up that fluid in their lungs, heat themselves, start pooping.
Now it’s their show.
But, they want to stay in the green room.
(so, we nurses do a lot of effort to get them started)
It’s really made me start to think about stress in the delivery room.
I’m sure, if you made it through high school science, you remember that there are stress hormones. The whole flight or fight response.
Those hormones give our bodies quite a workout. You know your heart pounds, your vision changes — the whole nine yards.
But, babies have lived a life of basically bliss. Yes, mom might have had episodes of stress, but following that — the baby had a time to relax and unwind.
Anyway — when you consider a “natural” delivery. I think it’s important to be prepared for the stress you will face with the pain.
If you can handle it with fortitude and tolerance, then things are going to be great. A natural delivery is one of my most favorite things in the world.
My big piece of advice: Labor pain is not something that the vast majority of women can face without a plan. That plan includes:
- Awareness of what will happen in the delivery room, so you aren’t caught off guard
- Some ideas on how to get through the pain, that you have practiced quite a bit before coming to your delivery
- Awareness of what will happen to your body as you progress through labor naturally
My class covers #1 very well. However, I just didn’t think that an online class could really convey #2. For that, I recommend a class that thoroughly covers pain management. Something like:
- Bradley Method
- A highly-recommended doula class
*I also have a post on increasing your chances to go natural right here (it also shares my special if you buy Hypnobabies).
A note on classes:
Even when I taught in-person prenatal classes I knew that we weren’t adequately preparing moms for delivery pain. There just isn’t the time when you discuss everything about the delivery PLUS pain management.
I wouldn’t take a local hospital class believing that it will prepare you. If you truly want to not get an epidural I would recommend getting a more in-depth class by someone who specializes in it.
I actually believe it is best to split the hospital preparation and the pain into separate classes.
How are you preparing for delivery? Tell me in the comments!
Be sure to grab my free hospital packing list and check out all my other delivery preparation posts below that:
Great article! I’ve had 5 babies now…4 with epidural, and the last one without. I wanted to try it without this time around. I knew what it was like with the epidural. I took a class, read at least 18 books, and I went in with the knowledge of what labor was like. After all, I’d done it before! Nothing in this world could have prepared me for what I would experience. My labors have all been fairly quick…my 1st was just under 11 hours, the next three hovered around 4 hours each. I was induced for them all. I figured I was in for about 4 hours. This time, from the beginning of the induction until I was holding my baby, it took 66 minutes. I know exactly because my nurse told me as she wheeled us into recovery…haha. I thought I wasn’t coping well with the pain because I just knew I still had a few hours left to go. Oh well…at least baby didn’t have to cope with those stress hormones very long.
Hilary Erickson says
Yeah, quick deliveries are awesome for natural deliveries!