No matter how excited you are to meet your baby, pregnancy is hard. Once you get through the challenge of regular morning sickness and trying to keep up with a healthy diet and exercise, there’s labor to look forward to.

People talk about the miracle of giving birth, and this feeling should absolutely be the center of everyone’s birthin experience. However, too often that feeling is overshadowed by a much darker emotion: fear.

There’s no getting over the fact that all births will involve some level of pain, especially if you choose to go the all-natural route. What we can do something about is fear, though, which becomes a less dominant presence in the birthing room with just a little preparation ahead of time.

Learning relaxation techniques and exercises can make a big difference in how you deal with the fear and pain of giving birth. For starters, just learn a few of these techniques from theĀ Olson Center for Women’s Health:

Midwives Demonstrating Relaxation Techniques for Labor

What was your birthing experience like? Were you confident? Calm? Scared out of your pants? Whatever your story, we’d love to hear it. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments’ section, as well as your own recommendations for how to make the best of labor!