05/11/2009 08:29 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Ask Joanne - I'm Scared Of The Pain Of Childbirth

What's your question about being a parent? Our experienced life coach Joanne Mallon is here to help. Send your question in to this address and say if you'd like your name changed.

Sarah writes:

I am four months pregnant with my first child. I am becoming more and more anxious about how I will cope with the pain of giving birth - I never really had to cope with any physical pain before, never had a broken arm or anything like that. I am thinking of asking my doctor if I could have a caesarean instead - what do you think?

Here's our life coach's reply:

Dear Sarah

One of the most brilliant things about giving birth is that it shows you that you can cope with more than you ever expected you could. You will produce a life from your body, and feel invincible because of this. So start to trust yourself a little more, and believe that you can do this.

I think every pregnant woman worries to some extent about how she'll cope with the pain. In some ways a caesarean may look like an easier option, but it really isn't - it's major abdominal surgery. Give birth vaginally and you could be up and about straight away. A caesarian takes weeks to recover from, and will affect your future childbirth choices.

One factor is certain - this baby is coming out of you, how ever it makes the journey. Whether you choose to spend your pregnancy worrying or not, it won't affect the outcome. In fact, if anything it may have a negative effect on both you and your baby if you spend your pregnancy in a state of stress.

And you do have a choice - just because the little voice in your head is telling you that you won't cope, doesn't mean that you always have to listen.

The method I used to deal with these sort of worries was this: I decided that I would not worry about the actual process of childbirth until two weeks before the baby was due. So when those nagging thoughts bubbled up I would say back to them "Not today thank you, I'm choosing not to worry till later".

And what happened was, by the time I got to eight months and over, I didn't care so much about the pain. At nine months pregnant, if somebody had handed me a tin opener I would have cheerfully removed the little blighter myself. And that's how it often goes - by the time you get to the point of actually giving birth, meeting your baby becomes much more important than worrying about the pain.

If you don't feel you can push the worries aside till the end of your pregnancy, try pushing them aside till the end of today. Set yourself a "Worrying Time", and when you feel those thoughts arise, tell them "No thank you, I'm saving my worrying till seven to seven thirty tonight". What this does is help you feel much more in control and know that you can get a handle on your fears, instead of them having a grip on you.

For more techniques on how to deal with negative inner voices I recommend the book Taming Your Gremlin.

Hope this helps and good luck with your pregnancy.

best wishes


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