Pregnant with my first, scared about labor

Brittany - posted on 01/11/2009 ( 33 moms have responded )

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I'm 24 weeks pregnant and I'm scared of labor after hearing all the horror stories. I don't want to use an epidural, but I have heard about an IV med that makes it easier. I was wondering what you had for labor. Also, when do you go to the hospital? When your water breaks? Or do contractions come first and you go then?

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Sarah - posted on 10/23/2010

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Try not to worry! I know that probably sounds easier said than done, but try to be positive about it and trust that your body will know what to do. I don't think anything can really prepare you for labour or birth, not unless you've experienced it yourself. But just remember, your body was designed to give birth - even if you don't know what's happening, your body does!



I guess the most important thing (at least in my experience) is to relax. Don't stress about the labour and birth leading up to it - my Mum always said, there's no point in worrying, it only wastes energy. And I agree! Be positive, focus on the happy end result (holding your precious angel in your arms), and trust that your body knows what to do. I'll tell you now, it's hard work relaxing when the contractions are coming strong and fast, but it's the best thing to do!



My own birth experience was incredible and I honestly don't think it could've gone any better. I was in labour for 3 hours, went to the hospital after 1.5 hours at home (when contractions were 2 minutes apart!), my waters broke once we got there, I pushed for 20 minutes and gave birth to my beautiful little girl (who is now 10 months) - all without ANY pain relief! It went exactly how I wanted it to go and I found it an extremely empowering experience. So... not all birth experiences are terrible!



My main advice would be: Relax. Stay positive. Trust your body! And just remember - it won't last forever and once you have your baby in your arms, you know it'll be all worth it! Good luck! You'll be fine!!

Heidi - posted on 10/22/2010

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Hi brittany, i had a baby close to 8 mth ago, i didnt want to have an epidural either and i thort that i wasnt very goods with pain... I had her on the day of her edd i only had gas and a pethidine shot, i found leaning against the back of the bed very helpful as most of my labour was in my back and also i had my birthing partners take turns in rubbing my back with a heat pack and some of the lube that they put on the monitors... It all depends on what happens, i went in when my contractions were about 5 mins apart and had my water broken jus b4 delivery.. Whenever you feel like its time call the hospital and they will talk to u and see whether you should come in, they monitored me first then told me that i was in labour..

Kira - posted on 10/22/2010

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If you water breaks, you should go in. But it may not (mine didn't). If not, wait until the contractions are between 5 and 10 minutes apart. Don't be scared. Labor is intense, but you'll have people to help you through it. I did it without an epidural. I have also attended an epidural birth. I'm not sure what IV meds are available- you should discuss it with your doctor.

Just remember, millions of other women have gone through what you're about to experience- and most of them still decided to have more kids :-) It'll be okay!

Ashley - posted on 01/13/2009

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Is not that bad but i had a epidural with my first baby and i was in labor all day. I didnt have anything with my second baby because we didnt have time and i felt better after having my second baby and not having anything. I went to the hospital when my contractions were about 10 mins apart with my second my water broke at the hospital.

Ashley - posted on 01/13/2009

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Is not that bad but i had a epidural with my first baby and i was in labor all day. I didnt have anything with my second baby because we didnt have time and i felt better after having my second baby and not having anything. I went to the hospital when my contractions were about 10 mins apart with my second my water broke at the hospital.

Jessica - posted on 01/13/2009

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I agree with Tiffany. I have four kids and four very different labors and deliveries. The best delivery by far was the one without drugs. It was the by far the best recovery I had.

Tiffany - posted on 01/13/2009

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I am on my third next month. I do not believe in drugs during labor. My youngest was 10 lbs 10 oz. I had both my boys naturally and am planning the same with this one. Every labor experience is different. You are stronger than you think. You need to do what you feel is right for you, not what people think you should do. It doesn't make you any less of a mom by recieving pain medication. As for when to go to the hospital I would say when the contractions are 5 min. apart. (Roughly) My water never broke until I was fully dialated so I don't know about that. Real contractions don't subside when you are resting, Braxton hicks usually will. Good Luck.

Jessica - posted on 01/12/2009

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I have had four children and different experiences for them all. The c-sections and two vaginal births. I think the absolute most important thing to keep in mind going into your first labor is really not to have any expectations. You may walk in with your plan of what you want to have happened, but you simply dont know what to expect. Keep an open mind. I had the IV drugs twice, two different experiences. They take the edge off, but you will still feel pain. I have had epidurals as well and they honestly were not positive experiences for me. Its definately important to hear about all of your options and also be open to the different options as you go into labor.

Amanda - posted on 01/12/2009

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I was 2 weeks overdue so I had to be scheduled for an Induction. When I arrived at the hospital they told me I was having contractions just 4 minutes apart and I did not even feel it. I laughed through the whole thing. A doctor had to break my water and I felt 3 contractions and then had an epidural. I pushed for 15 minutes and my daughter was born. I had a very easy labor and never felt a thing. I feel like I was very lucky!

Crystal - posted on 01/12/2009

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Dont worry about the labour, by the time that baby is ready to come out, you will also be ready an so excited to meet your baby! I was scared to an than it was time an i was perfectly calm an happy! Epidurals are no big deal, an they work great, so if u feel the iv not working go for the epidural, it doesnt harm u or the baby, an its not that bad getting it done either. Feels like magic!! Do what makes u comfortable. Dont put up with the pain cause u dont have to an ur gonna have alot of owrk ahead of u so u want ur energy. You go in when ur water breaks or u start leaking unless ur contractions are super close together then go in an they will check u an tell u how to proceed. most important tho, relax an enjoy it cause its all over so fast an those first moments are so precious!

Silvana - posted on 01/12/2009

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i was also scared its normal...but try to relax...i started feeling lower back pain but had no idea it was contractions...have you dr give you the help line to the hosp you will be delivering at..you can call them when you feel something and they will help you..i called when i felt the lower back pain... had no idea it was contractions until the nurse told me..i was told to take a bath and lye on my left side and keep track of how often the back pain was...it was every 5mins for 1hr i called the hosp again and they told me to go in...my back pain got stronger as labor went on finally got an epideral..was a great relief then, but i go to sleep and wake up every morning with a backache..not sure if it will eventually go away..good luck and remember try to enjoy your pregnancy and the professionals will guide you

Amy - posted on 01/12/2009

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Everybody is different but here's my story. I was horribly afraid of an epidural but after hitting about 5 cm with pitocin, I caved in. It wasn't that bad and I actually went to sleep after that. I tried the iv meds but they just made me light headed and I was still in pain. I was induced both times, but if you begin to feel contractions(which feel like really bad cramps), start timing them. Your dr. should let you know about how far apart they should be before you call them. Obviously if your water does break(and it doesn't always do it way ahead of time) or you begin bleeding the call the dr. I should also mention that when I had Jack I was already 5 cm at the time of induction(both times for medical reasons) and I opted to have the epidural then and there. No pain. Also don't worry about the horror stories. Everyone for some reason tries to scare the poo out of new moms as if there isn't enough to worry about. Your labor may go smoothly and easy. Both of mine did(for the most part). Madison was an 8 hr labor and Jack was a 4 hr labor.

Sara - posted on 01/12/2009

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i too was very scared about labour and what to expect, no matter what people tell you, you will still wonder and worry. the main thing i was scared of was people seeing my 'bits' and the fact that i might poo myself. the pain was not an issue for me. All i used was gas and air through my contractions which lasted about 3 hours, when you inhale that much gas and air you soon forget that you have about 3/4 people looking at your bits and them saying i am just going to wipe your bottom for you. The only advice i can give is dont expect it to go by the book and dont listen to what people tell you. you do what you feel is best.



i went in to labour, well i started having backache at 4am and it did not turn into contractions until about 2.45pm, i went into hospital about 2.30pm when the pain was just unbearable. i gave birth at 5.45pm that day and was home by 9.30pm that night.

everyone is different and you will know when you want to go into hospital. you may panic know and wonder how will i know, but trust me you will know.

Karen - posted on 01/12/2009

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Hi Brittany, Congratulations, with my daughter i had just Gas and Air, i went to the hospital when the contractions were a couple of minutes apart. My waters didnt break on their own the hospital had to burst them,(dont worry it doesnt hurt)



i hope i've answered your questions. good luck

Amanda - posted on 01/12/2009

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Hello! I'm a mom with 3 kids, now 7,5,and 2. I was pretty nervous about having my first baby at 21 and really wanted my labor and delivery to be natural because my mother had all 5 of my siblings and I without anything by tylonel! So I thought I could do it to, I didn't ever rule out the epidural but I really didnt want to use it if I didn't have to. In my case with my oldest, I was in labor for so long I needed to have it so that I could relax and sleep before it was time to push. Each child after that became easier to deliver. Don't let the nurses or anyone else tell you how to best handle YOUR delivery, but don't put the extra relaxation from the epidural totally out of the range of possibilites. I had several of the relaxation drugs previously mentioned and all it did for me was make me feel high and woozy! BUT with my last little girl I went from a 4 - 10 in 25 min because it relaxed me just enough. Also remember to try and not stress to much, your baby can feel the stress and its not good for your precious child, so just try and relax and know that your body knows what it's doing, it was designed that way.

Laura - posted on 01/12/2009

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Hi. When I had my first son, I was terrified of labor. Hearing all those horrid stories everyone tells. But honestly my pregnancy, labor, and devilery went amazing. I had no meds at all, no epidural. I don't mind needles as long as I can see them when they go in. So no way in hell was I letting the doc stick something into my spine. Anyway, everything went perfect. Everyone is also different too. But good luck :)

Kelly - posted on 01/12/2009

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hi im a mum of 2 and that best thing that help me with the pains was a warm bath good luck try not 2 worry u be fine xx

[deleted account]

Everyone is different and every birth is different. You just make a plan with your doctor or midwife and try to stick to it. I think there is comfort in having an idea of what you want to do and how. You still have to prepare for if something goes differently than what you want or expect but just enjoy the experience.

Genie - posted on 01/12/2009

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I had a pretty unpleasant experience. I was given patocin, and that was the worst. Then I had the IV, and that made me vomit. After 13 hours of enduring, I finally got a c-section. This time around, I am scheduled for a c-section, and I couldn't be happier! They say you forget the pain, but I remember well! I think I am a huge wuss when it comes to pain though :)



You really have no way of knowing how your labor will go. I thought I would be like my mom and pop babies out in under an hour, but that was NOT the case. If I were to do it again vaginally, I would opt out of patocin or IV. I think I would have done much better without them.

Julie - posted on 01/12/2009

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With my son (3 months old), my water broke before I started having any contractions. I was admitted to the hospital and given a vaginal suppository to get my cervice to start effacing and dilating, and then given pitocin to get my contractions going. I was scared to have an epidural, so I had IV meds (Nubaine). The IV meds just numbed the pain a little for about 2 hours in the middle of my labor. It was just enough to give me a break, and then I was able to finish and deliver naturally. Once I started the pitocin, I had about 9 hours of labor, and only 10 minutes of pushing. What helped me the most dealing with the pain was my husband who was with me every minute.

Brittany - posted on 01/12/2009

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Quoting Hannah:

if your contractions get to 5 min apart then go to the hospital that is what most doctors say and usually they break your water. my water actually broke before my contractions got to 5 min but they were about 6 to 7 min apart for about 48 hrs before it broke, everyone is different but definetly go when there 5min apart. and if your water breaks go immediately the baby must be out within 24 hrs of that to prevent any infection. and there is an iv to take before you ask for an epidural but in my case it didnt take away any pain just made me light headed and annoyed. i eventually got an epidural but between that and the patosin my sons heart rate went down fast so they had to stop the epidural (i only had it for an hour out of the 15). so 8 hrs later i had him with no pain relievers and (i cant sugar coat it) it hurt, but if you can concentrate on your breathing more you'll be fine. and no matter what it was all worth it, when its done theres actually endorphines that release after you have the baby so the pain seems immediately gone and you can enjoy your beautiful baby...good luck.


Thank you, my stepmom had the iv with her first, she said it made her sleep in between contractions and that she wasn't groggy. Her second, came out in 17 mins so there was no time for pain meds, but she said that the pain goes aways really quick afterwards.

Trista - posted on 01/12/2009

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I just had my first baby. Well he's almost two months already but i feared a lot of the same things you are fearing. I was able to be induced at 38 weeks which worked really well for me because then i didn't have to guess when to go to the hospital. I also got an epidural and it was the best decision i could have made. Don't rule it out completely i was only in labor for 7 hrs total, and pushed for 12 min. and i know i wouldn't have been able to relax and sleep if not for the blessed epidural. I had no idea what to expect as far as contractions and that's why i'm glad i had the epidural! Hope this helps a little bit! :)

Kylie - posted on 01/12/2009

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i was exactly the same as you i was terrified of going into labour, i went to the hospital when my waters broke at 1am and i had had my son by 8am i had him naturally and i didnt think it was that bad. i Just think because you hear stories you think that is what is going to happen to you, but not that's not the case at all.

Anne Marie - posted on 01/12/2009

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hi i have 5 kids it is a scarything 2 go through but u have a lovley baby at the end as its ur 1st i go wen ur waters brake as anything can happen

[deleted account]

If you can get a hold of a copy of Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, that book helped me have a more positive attitude towards my labor with my first. The whole first half of the book is positive birth stories. I was able to draw from those women's experiences during my own labor which really helped me get through contractions. There is also a book that I found in my local library that was about pain management during labor. I was able to research a lot of different pain relief options so I would know what to ask for if I needed it.
I was actually sent home from the hospital at 6cm twice because I wasn't progressing. So after the second time we got sent home my mom and I looked up some poses to do to get the baby to shift so his head would be pressing on my cervix to help it dialate. So I was able to get a good nights rest and then the next morning I woke up at 8:45 and my water broke. I felt okay until an hour later when I went into transition. We rushed up to the hospital and my son was born at 1:48pm. It went so fast that I really didn't have a chance to think about pain management. I found what helped a lot was just thinking one contraction at a time. I can handle this contraction, and not thinking about future ones.

Carol - posted on 01/12/2009

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Talk with your doctor/midwife about medications and what would be best for you. But, keep in mind that situations can change. I had an epidural with both of my children and enjoyed every minute of the labor. I still had some pain of course. With my first, I was real sick when I was admitted-throwing up and had terrible back pain--which came to learn was back labor. So for me the contractions were nothing it was my back. Once I got the epidural, I was relaxed. I went to the hospital 2 different times thinking I was in labor and I wasn't. But that's ok. The last time I went my contraction were 2-5 minutes apart. From the time I was admitted until I had him was just over 7 hours. With my second, my water broke at home. We got to the hospital and the rest of the water had to be broken since only the first layer broke. I got my epidural about an hour after we got there-since I had to have a bag of fluid first. I wanted to try natural but I was in alot of pain. Just over 5 hours after my water broke at home my little boy was born. But with both of my pregnancies, I discussed ahead of time my concerns, fears, what I wanted, didn't want.

Jessica - posted on 01/12/2009

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intravenous (IV) medications can help with labour. The most common is Stadol, Demerol and Nubain. There are also others that can be used as well. IV meds promote relaxation . Many women say the IV makes them feel sleepy, or even like they have had a drink of alcohol. It doesn't take all pain away but it helps you in coping and focusing on your labour.They can be the perfect answer for someone who doesn't wish to have an epidural, can't have an epidural or needs to delay the use of an epidural. You will be perfectly fine, and when time comes you will be surprised how everything naturally comes to you, Good Luck!

Kaye - posted on 01/12/2009

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hi im mum to 4 and all my labours were different my last was my worst and i still coped ok! and everyone is different you know your own body and you will have a good support around you with your midwife etc. i had gas and air with all 3 but nothing for the 4th,he was too quick ha! dont worry itll all be worth it when you have your beautiful baby to hold!

Donna-marie - posted on 01/12/2009

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the best piece of advice anyone gave me was listen to what your midwife tells you i did this and gave birth to my 8lb 14oz boy only with gas and air and it all went smoothly, good luck don't worry just enjoy the wonderful experience

Emma - posted on 01/12/2009

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Hey sweet,

there is no need to stress, You will know when you are in labour believe me.With my first child i was induced with high blood pressure, being fearful (as you are) I had the epidural straight away. I dilated to 10 in 3 hours but my son got a bit stressed so they gave me a cesarean, with my daughter I wanted a natural birth desperately but i had cholostasis (pregnancy affected the liver) so they stripped my membranes which caused my waters to brake, I was in labour from friday night to sunday at 12:28 when my beautiful baby come into the world naturally and drug free, yes it was painful but within an hour I was up and walking around (after a much needed shower). It was the most spectacular thing I have ever done. I loved giving birth and although it really really really hurts at the time you just keep telling yourself "it will be over soon" good luck sweet

Hannah - posted on 01/12/2009

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if your contractions get to 5 min apart then go to the hospital that is what most doctors say and usually they break your water. my water actually broke before my contractions got to 5 min but they were about 6 to 7 min apart for about 48 hrs before it broke, everyone is different but definetly go when there 5min apart. and if your water breaks go immediately the baby must be out within 24 hrs of that to prevent any infection. and there is an iv to take before you ask for an epidural but in my case it didnt take away any pain just made me light headed and annoyed. i eventually got an epidural but between that and the patosin my sons heart rate went down fast so they had to stop the epidural (i only had it for an hour out of the 15). so 8 hrs later i had him with no pain relievers and (i cant sugar coat it) it hurt, but if you can concentrate on your breathing more you'll be fine. and no matter what it was all worth it, when its done theres actually endorphines that release after you have the baby so the pain seems immediately gone and you can enjoy your beautiful baby...good luck.

Clarissa - posted on 01/11/2009

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I agree everyone has a different experience. With my first I went in on contractions and had him All natural. The second my water broke, then I went in and decided to get the epidural that time. It helped a lot. My third I was induced and got an epidural as well. My last one I went in on contractions but he came so quick that I wasn't given options. Everything turned out fine on all my kids. I wouldn't listen to horror stories. Go with what will make you enjoy the experience the most. It is a beautiful thing to have a baby and you should be able to enjoy most of it the way you feel is best.

Cassandra - posted on 01/11/2009

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i went wen my waters broke to the hosplital and labor is one of those things where everyone has a different experience dont listen to the stories every woman is different some have it easy and other not but there is nothing to worry bout i have had 3 children and all i had was the gas

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