c h apter 11
Labor and birth
Giving birth is different for every woman. For most women it takes a lot of strength
and concentration, and it is not unusual to feel exhausted after the baby is born.
But the joy of holding the new baby makes most women forget the pain or
discomfort they may have had.
Most babies are born without problems. So trust in your natural ability to give
birth. But problems can arise and if they do, you will need skilled care.
In advance of the birth, speak with the person who will be delivering your baby
to let her know of any special needs or concerns you may have. If you need help with
daily care or communicating, you will need the same help during labor and birth.
Even after all the changes from pregnancy, you are still the person who understands
your body the best. You can prevent many problems by learning about what will
happen during birth, practicing ways of breathing during labor (see page 240), and
trying different positions to find what is comfortable for you (see pages 240 to 241).
Try to have someone with you
Going through labor alone is hard for any woman. Try to have someone who knows
you well (partner, family member, friend) with you from the beginning of labor
until the baby is born. This person can:
• help reassure you that you are doing well.
• help you with your breathing.
• help you try different positions that feel the most comfortable for you.
• help explain to the midwife or doctor any concerns or problems you may have.