Like many mothers, I had a list of fears before I gave birth to my first child.
A leading obstetrician and an Australian mother-of-five have given me a different perspective.
The anonymous pair say childbirth doesn’t have to be frightening, and I’ve found it reassuring because I’m pregnant and have to do it all over again.
Here’s what they had to say about some common birth worries:
‘Am I going to poo?’
Obstetrician: “I can remember a number of women being very frightened about that even in labour.
“We live in such a sanitised society we think that there’s something wrong about that, but that’s our key reassurance that everything is happening. So if a woman tells me ‘I need to do a poo or open my bowel’, I say ‘great’.
"Birth is not David Jones, it’s messy. There is mess there – but that’s all signs that it is happening normally."
Mother of five: "In my day they gave you an enema prior, but they stopped this practice in the 90s and I pooed giving birth.
"I didn't care. It is not gross and it is part of giving birth. It's very hard to push out a baby and isolate that at the same time. Simply not possible."
'How much pain am I going to be in?'
Mum of five: "It is difficult and no one is calling it easy, that's why they call it labour. But having said that, you do recover really quickly and women go back for more. We survive and we're strong, we can do it."
Obstetrician: "The pain is very variable and some people don’t even call it pain. So there’s something different about this pain. It’s not pain because something is broken or because something is being torn apart, it is because the body is doing something. There’s the common perception that it’s pain like having kidney stones but it is something different...