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Too much worry = delayed labor?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Sorry, this might be a little long.  I just think I need to say a few things, so if you feel like reading, thanks.


Today I had my 40 week check with the midwife.  Last week, at 39 weeks, she was surprised to be seeing me.  This week, her first words (with a big smile- really she wasn't being accusatory like it sounds when you read it in print) were "Come on, really?  Why are you still holding on to this baby?"  She's really convinced that I'm still pregnant not because baby's not ready but because I'm not ready.  She says unresolved fears and stresses can really cause labor to be delayed.


And really, I think I agree with her.  I realize that at just 40 weeks, it's not like I'm overdue or anything.  But really, there's no reason, physically, my body or the baby shouldn't be ready.  4-5 cm dilated, 50% effaced, anterior cervix with baby's head low and engaged.  I've been having contractions (irregular, but stronger than Braxton Hicks) for 3 weeks now.  My older son was born at 39 weeks.


So what's the hold up? 


Well, there's the fact that my husband works a lot of hours, and he's often delivering things in places where his cell doesn't get service, or he may be 45 minutes away.  I worry he may not get home in time to get me to the hospital.  (My last labor was pretty quick for a first one, and got really intense really quickly.  And everyone says this one will go even quicker, especially with the contractions and dilation I've been experiencing.)  We do have a back-up plan, a friend who can take me to the hospital, but I really want that to be a last resort.  And of course, I really do think I could deliver my own baby if I had to :)


I worry about the logistics of our friends getting our son to take care of him while I'm having the baby.  What if they don't answer the phone?  If it happens in the middle of the night, how freaked out will DS be when we drag him out of bed at 3 am and take him to the hospital to meet our friends, with me in who knows what kind of state?


My doula had to go out of town unexpectedly last Sunday night.  I spoke with her backup on the phone, and she seems equally as marvelous, but still.  Doula's coming back today, so that's not really a worry anymore :)


And then, of course, I hate to admit it, but I remember labor not being the most comfortable experience in the world, and I guess I have some fears surrounding that. 


Anyway, I'm not sure what my point is.  I guess I just needed to vent a little.  And I'm wondering if anyone has words of wisdom or suggestions for making my mind quit freaking out my body!  Or do you think it's all a bunch of hooey and baby girl's just really not ready?

post #2 of 10



I definitely think it is possible.  With my last son (just over 2 years ago) my best friend was in a coma and I just didn't go into labour although my body was totally ready and I usually deliver well before 40 weeks.  Once she passed away and I had a little time to grieve, I went into labour.   My midwife was sure that the stress and worry held off labour for me.

post #3 of 10

I agree.  Our midwives have had multiple experiences of in-laws coming to be there for the birth of a new grandparent, and the mother going overdue and not going until labor until after the houseguests left.  So, I agree, emotional and psychological factors do impact labor very much.  However, just because you had your last baby at 39 weeks doesn't mean this one is ready at 39 weeks.

I would encourage you to talk with your partner about any anxieties you may have, so that together you can figure out solutions for getting in touch, meeting up with people caring for your son etc.  Sometimes just talking about it together can ease those worries.  Also, I don't know how much you're into journaling or anything, but it might be beneficial to explore your feelings around this pregnancy coming to a close- I'd personally focus especially on the fears you might have about labor.   Even if labor last time wasn't the most comfortable thing, you can focus on how now you know what to expect, and you're so much better prepared.

Hugs to you, mamma.  I wish I could offer more encouragement!

post #4 of 10


Originally Posted by akayerich View Post
Or do you think it's all a bunch of hooey and baby girl's just really not ready?

I think it's all a bunch of hooey and baby girl and/or your system are just really not ready.


Humans are incredibly good at seeing patterns. So good that we see them all the time when they don't exist. And if you have a belief (e.g., worry = no labour) you will notice the events that confirm your belief and won't notice the events that contradict it. Women go into labour in war zones while under fire, for goodness' sake.


To give you another point of anecdata, the day I went into labour with DS2, I was quite possibly the most anxious and worried I had been in weeks. (I thought I had just lost all postpartum help.)


And on the off chance that it is true, it's likely incredibly counterproductive to worry about being worried.

post #5 of 10

In other words, IMHO, this is another variation of RELAAAAAXXX.


Not helpful in the realm of reality!

post #6 of 10

Because we're animals I can imagine how some extreme stress/anxiety could delay the start of labour...needing a safe space to deliver, thus maximizing the chances of survival for mother and baby, etc....


But....I actually find that kind of advice really counterproductive and pretty much hooey.  It places extra stress on you, worrying about being worried....feeling like it's your fault somehow.  The concerns you talked about are pretty common ones, and it doesn't mean that every woman who has them holds onto baby until they're resolved!!!!


During labour with DD (an induction), I was stuck at 4cm for hours and hours, then suddenly shot to 10cm.  My midwife said at the time, and afterwards that it was my own "insecurity/fear" holding me back from dilation.  I think the pitocin they were pumping into me probably could have overcome any "anxiety" if that was really what was stalling me....


And, it smacks of the advice we've been talking about over on the chat thread - the nurse who told me (I never got milk in with DD despite months of desperatly trying EVERYTHING)  that maybe I'd be more RELAXED with the second child and I'd be able to BF.


So yes....I don't think you need to pile worrying about your stress levels etc on top of worrying about labour not starting yet.


Relaaaaaax winky.gif lol.gif



post #7 of 10

I think it is very strange of your ob to be saying that at your 40 week, precisely because you're not overdue. That doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

post #8 of 10

Chiming in as another vote for not worrying about worrying.  40 isn't overdue.  I think it should be an estimated due month, not due date.  Too much stress involved.

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

I think pi makes some valid points. Women in war zones and all that. Though, I have to say, people in those types of situations probably always have so much stress and worry as a baseline that it may be a little different than usually laid back me freaking out over things related specifically to the labor. But still, obviously, people have babies all the time in all sorts of situations.


Originally Posted by Katico View Post

Relaaaaaax winky.gif lol.gif



^^ Well, whether it's a bunch of hooey or not, this can't possibly be bad advice, so I'll go with that smile.gif 





Originally Posted by RosemaryS-F View Post

I think it is very strange of your ob to be saying that at your 40 week, precisely because you're not overdue. That doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

I don't think it's the fact that i'm 40 weeks so much as the fact that we've all been in "any day now" mode for like 3 weeks, since I started having  all those classic signs of labor.  Cervix dilated and ripe, baby low and engaged, contractions, lost the mucous plug (twice- 2nd time with blood) blah blah blah.


Nobody's worried that I'm 40 weeks and still pregnant- just surprised is all smile.gif


post #10 of 10

I personally don't think it is a bunch of hooey. There is an article I read at one point (I think it was on/in mothering) about failure to progress really being that the mom is unable to relax due to all of the people coming in and out, vaginal checks, etc. When they are left alone labor picks back up.

with my first my mw was going to be out of town over ds's edd but I figured I would go before she left (which was a few days before my edd), I didn't (she was gone a few weeks). I went into labor as she crossed over the border and she drove strait to my house.

w/ ds3 she was going to be out of town again and returning right before my edd. She joked that she wasn't sure if she wanted to tell me the day she was coming back bcs I would probably call her when her plane hit the tarmac. She did tell me and guess when her pager went off? Yup she had just landed:).

w/ds1 I had other issues besides the fact of her being out of town. I hate hospitals as my mom had cancer off and on throughout my childhood and I spent a lot of time in hospitals. I was terrified of having to transport. I was worried what labor would be like, how the adjustment to mothering would be, etc. My mw reccomended hypnotherapy so I did one session. I had not realized how worried I was about hospitals. I worked through a lot of stuff and felt a lot of relief. Just a few days later I had ds (and had to transport but wasn't scared bcs I had worked out my issues in the hypnosis session).

I think it is strange that your mw is putting that pressure on you, especially if nothing is concerning with the baby.

I would highly recommend a hypnosis session if you are concerned that you are holding up labor.

good luck

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