When you think about childbirth, chances are the word “pain” is one of the first that comes to mind.
While it’s normal to feel a little apprehensive as you near the end of your pregnancy, some women can experience intense fear that makes them dread delivery and could actually affect the progress of their labour.
A Swedish study found that pregnant women with an intense fear of giving birth run a considerable risk of negative experiences during labour and increased feelings of dissatisfaction after childbirth.
It is normal to fear the changes that will come when a new baby enters your life. It is normal to fear how you will cope/are coping with the enormous physiological changes and sensations in your body.
Feelings of worry or nervousness may increase as the due date gets nearer.
“How will I know I am in labour?”
“How big will my baby be?”
“How long will the birth take?”
“How will I behave during labour?”
“Will I have a midwife I know?”
These things are uncertain and for some people may be the cause of anxiety. Some women find that they actually feel very fearful. Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that birth is dangerous or causes severe pain.
Sometimes fear can take over your thoughts and dreams, stopping you from enjoying life. Fear of birth can range from having understandable fears, right through to being very fearful and Tokophobia. (a dread and avoidance of childbirth)
- 20% of pregnant mums feel fearful during pregnancy, especially if it is their first baby.
- 13% of women delay becoming pregnant because of fear.
- 6% of women find this fear of disabling, taking over their life.
Causes of fear in pregnancy and labour may stem from learned behaviour whereby negative stories about pregnancy and birth from others or through the media begin to play on your mind.
Increased medical management of pregnancy and birth can sometimes add to our belief that birth is dangerous.
Some women are natural worriers and find it difficult to relax, and others have a history of depression before the baby is born and tend to become overly preoccupied with what might go wrong as opposed to focussing on normality.
If you’re filled with dread over your impending delivery day, here are some ways to overcome your fears.
- Find out the facts, attend antenatal groups, do some reading and research, talk to your midwife, and if necessary she can refer you to other health professionals for talk therapy if your fear is overwhelming
- If you are planning a hospital birth make an appointment to look around the unit, and if you are very anxious this might be arranged as a one to one with you and your partner so that your fears can be expressed and note.
- Develop a birth plan/proposal with your Midwife so that you have discussed the birth process thoroughly as information and knowledge decreases fear
- Invest in some antenatal relaxation or hypnobirthing audios for guided instructions on how to breathe effectively and relax
- Avoid the portrayal of negative birth stories remember women’s bodies are designed to give birth
- Book a course of Midwife-led pregnancy massage for relaxation and to discuss your fears. Around 7% of women request a Caesarean Section for no medical reason, and if this request is because of fear of birth the Consultant will meet with you privately to talk this through and will ensure that you have all of the information that you need to enable you to make the right choice and that you have the support of a senior Midwife.
- Hire a private midwife/Doula t0 to hold your hand throughout the whole process. Linda our midwife can discuss our private packages with you further please call on 07920192881
Linda our Midwife can support you with preparing for a natural calm and confident birth with our KG hypnobirthing workshops and breathing/relaxation sessions.