iVillage Exclusive! 'Pregnant in Heels' Star Rosie Pope: How to Prep for Labor

Last night on Pregnant in Heels, Rosie Pope counseled a client who was so scared of labor that she hyperventilated when thinking and talking about it! Rosie even sent her to a behavioral therapist for help. While most women's labor fears aren't quite that intense, it's normal to be nervous about delivery day. Read on for Rosie's advice about preparing for labor and delivery:

What are your three best tips for preparing for labor?
First, take a childbirth education class from an unbiased teacher. The last thing you need is someone telling you the "best" way to have a baby. The "best" way is the way that's healthiest for your baby and for you. But it's important to know about a lot of the things that will or could happen. Having knowledge helps ease the anxiety.

Second, prepare yourself for after birth, too. Make sure you read those baby books before you have the baby so you know what to expect, how to feed, how much sleep the baby will need and so on -- so you can enjoy those first weeks rather than being worried about doing things correctly.

Finally, try to rest and relax. Somehow, some way, you'll have that baby -- so get as much rest as possible and trust your body.

What's the worst thing a mom-to-be can do?
The worst thing you can do is not educate yourself and instead listen to everyone else's war stories!

A study recently revealed that women who are afraid of labor tend to have longer labors! How can nervous moms-to-be like Emily relax about the big event?
First of all, that study did not show a really long increase in labor time -- we're not talking hours and hours more -- so I don't want people getting anxious about being anxious and in turn getting even more anxious! I do think knowing about the process of labor actually reduces anxiety, because what is probably going to happen is far less gruesome than what your imagination might conjure up -- especially when it comes to episiotomies, going to the bathroom during labor and so on.

What's your feeling on birth plans?
I don't believe in them. I believe in birth strategies. Birth plans make my clients far too rigid, but strategies inspire a sense of flexibility should the moment call for it. It's wonderful to have a strategy and to discuss this with your doctor and/or midwife -- and if things don't go according to plan that's okay, you can adjust your strategy because the only plan that matters is having a healthy baby and healthy mom. I've seen far too many mothers get obsessed with a birth plan and then feel disappointed when their plan doesn't work out. There should never be disappointment if everyone is healthy!

You've had three children ... what were your biggest fears about labor?    
I've had difficult pregnancies and easy ones, but I always worry about just getting my babies here safe and sound. So there's less a worry about one specific thing and more generalized anxiety about just getting it done with the least amount of drama. For me, having an amazing doctor and trusting him completely has done wonders for my anxiety.

Rosie Pope is a clothing designer, maternity concierge and the star of Bravo's 'Pregnant in Heels.' Read her Q&A with iVillage Parenting every Wednesday after the show. Follow her on Twitter: @RosiePope, or find her at rosiepope.com.

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