Today, many Western women have become fearful of birth. It’s easy to understand why when you take a look at the current birthing landscape.
So, what can we do to reduce the fear of birth?
In countries like the US and Australia, one in three babies are born via c-section, which is major abdominal surgery. Many labour’s are artificially induced with powerful drugs, leaving lots of those mothers-to-be feeling like they can’t cope without pain relief.
Many mothers end up exhausted, some traumatised. Some new dads are finding themselves traumatised too. Then the parents share their horror stories to those who have yet birthed.
Understanding Where Your Fear of Birth Comes From
You have time to address your fear and prepare. Talk to your doctor, midwife or doula and ask any questions you have about what to expect. Take a childbirth education class. Practice relaxation and breathing techniques. Remember, millions of women have given birth before you and your body is capable of birthing your baby.
- Our own birth experiences. Many women develop a fear of birth from hearing their own mother’s labor stories or from a traumatic experience during a previous birth. The unknown aspects of birth and loss of control also contribute to fear for first-time mothers.
- Societal messages. We are exposed to very few positive birth stories. Most of what we see in TV and movies are dramatic, medicalized and painful births. This creates an unrealistic expectation of what birth is like for most women.
- Lack of knowledge. Not fully understanding how your body works in labor and what options are available can make birth seem scarier than it needs to be. Educating yourself about the natural birthing process, pain management techniques, and your choices can help alleviate fear.
With the right preparation and support, you can feel empowered and confident in your ability to birth your baby. Have faith in your body’s ability and focus on meeting your little one. Stay positive – your birthing day will be one of the most memorable days of your life.
Practical Tips to Manage Anxiety About Giving Birth
Giving birth can be an anxious time for many expectant mothers. Here are some practical tips to help alleviate your worries: Focus on the rewards. Remind yourself why you wanted to have a baby in the first place. Think of the joy of finally holding your little one in your arms.
Attend a childbirth education class so you know what to expect. Learn about all your options for pain management. Pack your hospital bag ahead of time.
Ask questions. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or midwife any questions you have about labor and delivery. The more you understand about the process, the more you reduce the fear of the unknown.
Stay active and healthy. Exercise releases endorphins that improve your mood and act as natural painkillers. Eat a balanced diet, limit caffeine and get plenty of rest. Your physical health directly impacts your mental wellbeing.
Discuss your fears with others. Talk to other mums, your partner, or a therapist. Letting your anxieties out in the open will make them feel less frightening.
While it’s normal to feel concerned, try to focus on the positive. Take things day by day, be good to yourself, and remember – you’ve got this, Staying calm and trusting in yourself and your body’s ability will help make your birthing experience as joyful as possible.
How do we reduce the fear of birth?
Check out this awesome TED talk featuring world famous midwife, Ina May Gaskin.
Also check out our article, Your Top 12 Fears About Childbirth Answered.