Chances are the only thing you know about childbirth is that it hurts. And that's enough to scare anybody. One way of dealing with your worry is by getting informed.

Oh yes, it hurts to give birth No matter how much we prepare ourselves for labour, it’s undoubtedly painful There are plenty of good reasons why: firstly, the muscles in the uterus are working to full capacity, then there’s the 10 cm dilation of your cervix, followed by the discomfort caused by the stretched ligaments that hold your pelvic bones together

Childbirth hurts
Yes, childbirth hurts But nobody really knows how much pain they’ll feel or how they’ll react to the pain So many factors affect how we deal with the pain: how complicated the birth is, how long it takes, your individual pain threshold, the support you get from your midwife and others, your state of health, how tired you are and how safe you feel

Birth pain is subjective
This is because pain is very subjective and greatly influenced by your mental attitude – which is one aspect of childbirth that you can take control of Being in control doesn’t mean avoiding all pain relief It means making the decision that’s right for you

Know what’s available
In light of this, you might want to discuss pain relief options and their pros and cons with your LMC to help you come up with a birth plan In fact, one thing that can increase the intensity of pain is fear – so the more you’re prepared and the greater your understanding of what’s happening, the better your birthing experience will be
And remember that it doesn’t matter whether or not you opt for pain relief during the birth Childbirth isn’t a contest, despite a seemingly widespread notion that it’s better to give birth without drugs Don't listen to other people What’s important is that your baby’s birth goes well It should feel right for you and be adapted to your circumstances Every birth is unique

Your body can deal with birth pain
It’s probably best to avoid too many preconceived ideas, especially about what's right and wrong Try to be open to your LMC’s advice and listen to how you feel when the time comes Listen to your body Even if you’re feeling scared and anxious, your body knows how to birth a baby It was made to have children Trust yourself The pain may sometimes get unbearable, but your body will produce its own endorphins to help you through

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