The word labour as a synonym for the process of delivery is unfortunate and it is equally unfortunate that as far back as recorded, evidence is available it has been associated with pain, fear,’ anxiety and sometimes disaster. Modern medicine has ensured the welfare of a woman in labour as well as that of her child, even when complications arise, but in the vast majority of labours which are free from complications modern medical aids not only ensure the safety of the mother and her child but also ensure that she will receive all the help and assistance that she requires. Apprehension of labour is often a fear of the unknown. There is no point, however, in saying to a woman who is in the advanced stages of pregnancy that her labour will be simple and easy if, since childhood, she has been indoctrinated with the idea that labour will be long, painful and tedious. Every woman must understand what is happening to her during pregnancy, in order to appreciate the changes that are occurring and not be afraid of them. But it is even more important that she should be carefully instructed about the later stages of pregnancy and labour, for it is only by this means that she can recognize the normal processes of her body and gain confidence in her own ability to produce a child without undue pain or discomfort. Once this confident state is achieved the whole process of pregnancy and labour becomes immeasurably easier, not only for the mother but also for the doctors and midwives who are looking after her.
The emotional distress which may accompany pregnancy, labour and the puerperium is nearly always the result of ignorance, and this distress can be alleviated by careful understanding of the processes that are occurring, as well as by the quiet reassurance of those in attendance.
It is equally true to state that emotional strain causes physical tiredness or even distress. The importance, therefore, of instilling confidence and reassurance into the pregnant woman cannot be Over-emphasized.
The creation of life and the growth of a baby within a uterus is indeed an incredible, wonderful and extraordinary event. Anyone who has actually seen a baby delivered will never cease to marvel at the myriad factors which must have taken place all at exactly the correct time to produce this fabulous new-born creature. That this chain of events can proceed normally, naturally and to its final culmination with the natural delivery of a normal infant is by far the greatest wonder of the world, and it is right that a woman should always have a twinge of anxiety concerning not only the welfare of her unborn or newly born child but also his normality. This is natural motherhood.
Most women are endowed with a natural confidence in their own ability to produce perfectly normal children as and when they require them but during an actual pregnancy fears and doubts may cloud or override the confidence of prepregnant days. It is hoped that by reading this book carefully the woman, her husband and her family will learn what her pregnancy, delivery and the puerperium are all about, and that with this knowledge the pregnant woman will gain confidence in her own ability to proceed naturally through her pregnancy, delivery and the post-delivery phase assisted and helped by her family. It cannot be too strongly stressed that confidence comes directly from knowledge, and confidence in your ability comes from knowledge and reassurance.