How do I overcome my fear of giving birth?
Get information from reliable sources
Reading or listening to horror stories from other mothers who have had difficult deliveries or childbirth complications can make you feel even more overwhelmed. Seek information from reliable, reputable sources, and make sure to discuss your delivery options with your doctor.
Familiarize yourself with the hospital and staff
Visit the hospital where you have decided to have your delivery. Find out the qualifications of the staff that will be handling your delivery. Tour the ward or room where you will be admitted.
Consider taking childbirth classes
Childbirth classes can help you understand the challenges of childbirth and learn ways to deal with them. Research suggests that people who attend childbirth classes are less likely to have stress during labor than those who did not. Here are reasons why childbirth classes can be beneficial:
- You will learn about what is involved in giving birth to a child.
- Many of your concerns may be addressed in class, and myths will be cleared up with the help of certified childbirth educators.
- Class sessions allow you to connect with your partner and help your partner understand how to support you during the delivery of your child.
- You will learn how to cope with painful contractions during childbirth with relaxation techniques, visualization techniques, and knowledge about pain treatments (such as an epidural block) administered during delivery.
- You will learn about different delivery methods and any possible complications involved.
- You will brush up your knowledge of newborn care such as breastfeeding, diapering, and bathing.
Discuss your concerns with your doctor
Fear is often rooted in ignorance. If you have questions regarding labor and delivery, ask your doctor about them.
For example, you may want to know about available pain medications, how they work, and whether they have any side effects. You may be prescribed one or more of the following during childbirth:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
- Epidural anesthesia (medicine shot administered in the lower back to numb the pelvis and block pain)
If you want to avoid using drugs during labor and delivery, make sure you let your doctor know. They can recommend pain management options that include:
Stay active with safe pregnancy exercises
Pregnancy-approved exercises and yoga can help strengthen the muscles involved in the delivery process and increase the endurance required during labor. Ask your doctor about which exercises are safe to perform during pregnancy.
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Horsager-Boehrer R. Coping with fear of childbirth. The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. https://utswmed.org/medblog/coping-fear-childbirth/
Cleveland Clinic. Labor without Medication: Coping Skills. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/15586-labor-without-medication-coping-skills
Mayo Clinic. Childbirth classes: Get ready for labor and delivery. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy/art-20044568#