Being scared of labor actually makes the process worse. Want to know how to get over the fear of childbirth? Try out a few of these tips from a 2-time natural birth mama.
saddens infuriates me the way the media portrays childbirth. And, obstetricians don’t really aid in exuding confidence in women’s abilities to grow and birth their babies. I can’t understand why that is, but I can understand why you’re scared of labor.
What television show or movie ever shows a laboring woman calmly going to the hospital? I can’t think of many scenes that doesn’t depict panic, pain, and a rush to the hospital. You usually see the woman screaming about her water breaking. Then, she’s rushing to the hospital in agony. And she’s yelling until she’s pushed the baby out.
Your doctor has a wide variety of reasons why he or she needs to check on your baby and you during the entire process. I can’t remember one time my own OB saying anything to try to give me confidence in my own pregnancy and childbirth. We’re treated as though pregnancy and childbirth are an illness to be managed. Luckily, I knew better. I knew that there were far too many women in the world having babies to think that nature doesn’t have a plan for it all.
Is it Normal to Be Scared of Childbirth?
Mothers, especially first-time moms, usually find themselves afraid of labor. Why?
- The media portrays a sense of urgency, panic, and pain.
- Doctors want to manage the process as though pregnancy, labor, and delivery are an illness.
- Many people like to share labor and delivery horror stories.
- You don’t really know what to expect.
Even when you’ve been through labor and delivery, there’s a chance you start to experience anxiety and doubt about your labor with your next.
This happened to me. I began to develop a fear of childbirth after my first, even though it went very well. I realized that as I was nearing my second baby’s due date, fear and anxiety began to invade my thoughts. I would think things like:
- I got lucky the first time and this time might not go as well
- Did I forget how to handle contractions?
- Will my husband be as invested in the second birth as he was the first time?
It didn’t help my son was nearly 2 weeks past due and one day before scheduled induction. Some of my developing fears were that of having the induction itself and the increased possibility of side effects, further medical interventions (like an epidural) or c-section.
Some mothers develop such a strong fear of childbirth that they don’t want to have the baby. This fear is called tokophobia and can affect a woman’s decisions about how she wants to give birth to her baby.
My Experience With Labor
I want to be one of the few people that support you in the journey to finding positive thoughts about labor.
Growing up, I knew my mother had my brother and me naturally. She was scared, but I knew she did it! She delivered my brother who was Frank Breech (when the butt is delivered first). What a testament to how amazing our bodies are. If she could do that, why couldn’t I?
In my post, Don’t Get The Epidural, I explained that I had two unmedicated births. One, 26 hours, the other 9 very intense hours.
Before having either, I, of course, wondered how it felt to be in labor. I also wondered if I was capable of having my babies naturally because birth groups were all abuzz about inductions or scheduled c-sections based on the size of babies or changing calculations in due dates. I knew people, personally, who never even gave their bodies a chance to birth naturally because their doctors had convinced them their bodies weren’t capable of passing large babies.
With so much doubt being shoved at us, how could you not be scared of labor?
But, I found plenty of resources to help me work through my questions.
Ways to Overcome Fear of Giving Birth
Check out these 4 tips for managing your fear of labor:
Read and educate yourself!
If you’re scared of labor, I know first hand that part of your worries is the fear of the unknown.
I personally recommend the book The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, which is very informative. I’ve heard of so many other wonderful books, too. One that has been recommended over and over is Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth Pick one (or a few) and learn about what to expect.
- Henci Goer (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 384 Pages – 08/01/1999 (Publication Date) – TarcherPerigee (Publisher)
- Random House
- Ina May Gaskin (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 400 Pages – 03/04/2003 (Publication Date) – Bantam (Publisher)
Take a natural birth class.
Taking a natural birth class was instrumental in alleviating fears of childbirth as a first-time mom!
My birth class was lead by an instructor who was a former labor and delivery nurse. She also had experience birthing 4 babies naturally.
In class, the instructor taught us what the hospital wanted us to know. Then, she told us what we were really capable of.
We were prepared with some in-class exercises to learn about pain tolerance, pain management, and how long contractions last (great exercise with a hand in ice for as long as a contraction would last). Plus, she reminded us that our state of mind plays a large role in how we perceive our situation and pain.Your state of mind plays a big role in the perception of your labor and delivery. Being afraid intensifies feelings of pain. Click To Tweet
My husband ended up being my main support person. He went to class with me and learned all the reasons we should be on board with natural childbirth. We learned, together, how to work through the pain and that he needed to be supportive … more than just being in the same room. He needed to be my partner to help me through contractions, pain, and fear.
Don’t forget to share with your friends how they can support your birth plans.
Watch informative videos.
My favorite video was Business of Being Born by Ricki Lake. She’s since worked on several follow-up videos. I know, at one time, I was able to watch at least two of them on Netflix!
Do yourself a favor and don’t put much thought into how the media portrays childbirth. Don’t listen to birth horror stories. If you do listen to them (because people love telling them), remind yourself it was that person’s experience and not a fact of every birth.
Do you want more information about natural childbirth? I wrote a whole other post on giving birth naturally, and I really think you should read it! In that post, I share how education and support will help you through it, plus, I share a few things to remember about the pain. If that’s not enough, check out all my pregnancy and natural birth posts!
This post about Fear of Childbirth originally appeared on sahmplus.com July 3, 2017 and has been updated for content.