Week 26: Dealing with fear
Your fear is a measure of your courage.
-Jack Johnston, Psychotherapist
What’s Happening in Your Body?
You may begin to notice a clear liquid leaking from your nipples. This is the beginning of the milk glands’ production of colostrum, a vital substance that will feed your baby in the first couple of days after birth, before your breastmilk comes in. You may need a breast pad at this time, but most likely there will not be enough liquid to stain your clothing.
What’s Happening with Your Baby?
Your baby now weighs about one and a half pounds. His skin, once thin and translucent, is slowly becoming more opaque.
Dealing with Fear
It has been shown that fear can profoundly affect childbirth. Fear causes the body to release the fight-or-flight hormones, catecholamines. These hormones are in direct conflict with those that cause labor to progress smoothly, including endorphins (the body’s natural pain-reducing hormones), and oxytocin, which causes the uterus to contract in a smooth, powerful, and coordinated way, urging the baby into the world. Explore ways to deal with the powerful emotion of fear.
Miso is a high-protein food usually made with a combination of soybeans, cultured grain, and sea salt by a unique fermentation process. In Japan, this process was elevated to fine craftsmanship much like wine-making.
Miso is also a medicine. Unpastuerized miso is a living food, which contains natural digestive enzymes, Lactobacillus, and other microorganisms that aid in the digestion of food and strengthen the digestive system. Pregnancy, a time when digestive issues come up frequently, is a great time to try miso, if you haven’t already.
One of the easiest ways to enjoy miso is to make our Ten-Minute Miso Soup.
About three-quarters of all pregnant women suffer from backache that starts in the second trimester, and a third of them experience severe problems. Backache during pregnancy is usually caused by a shift in posture, due to your growing abdomen. Hormones that cause joints and ligaments to loosen up can also contribute to back strain. Get some tips on how to relieve backache during pregnancy.
Rescue Remedy is a compilation of several of the Bach Flower Remedies-a gentle plant-based liquid available in most health food stores. All-purpose Rescue Remedy can be used, as its name implies, in all kinds of situations. Keep some Rescue Remedy in your purse to use after a challenging appointment, when the day falls apart on you, or any time you feel off balance. You can also give Rescue Remedy to your child in similar situations.
Put three drops of Rescue Remedy in a 6-ounce glass of water and sip slowly. You can also place the drops directly on your tongue, but the undiluted taste may be too strong for a child.
One way to deal with fear in pregnancy is to do a birth inventory to try to uncover ideas you may have about pregnancy, birth, and parenting that you are not even consciously aware of by exploring influences from your past.
Answer each question as truthfully as you can. Do not be too concerned about accuracy. There are no right answers-only what feels true for you. It may be helpful to do this exercise with your partner, or with another friend who is pregnant.
What do you believe about your own personal birth (not your child’s)?
What does your mother believe about your birth?
What does your father believe about your birth?
How would different members of your family complete this statement: The women in our family are _______.
How would members of your family complete this statement: Childbirth is _______.
What did you believe about sex at age 16?
What do your parents believe about sex?
What do your parents believe about pregnancy?
How do you feel when talking to a midwife or physician?
What have your friends told you about childbirth?
What have you heard about childbirth from films, television, and the media?
What three words do you associate with pain?
What three words do you associate with hospital?
What do you remember about the births of your siblings?
What did/does your religion tell you about childbirth and sex?
What are your three most secret thoughts about childbirth?
What do you fear the most?
Image by Durga Yael Bernhard
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