A lot of women have a very real fear of childbirth and I can’t say that it is completely unjustified.
There are always terrible stories flying around of women who have had traumatic births and they don’t help.
What you must understand is that people are always going to share “horror stories” so to speak, rather than things that have actually gone well.
I remind myself of this fact all the time even in ordinary day to day issues.
That’s not to say that someones experience is not legitimate, just that it’s not the standard by which you have to judge yours next too.
It doesn’t have to happen to you and you don’t need to always expect that the worst thing will always happen.
You know that saying “always look on the bright side of life?”
Well from here on in you have to promise me that you will look at the bright side of giving birth and no more about the fear of childbirth.
OK well, let’s get started and look at ways in which we can gain back some control over our experience.
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Steps to avoid the fear of childbirth and take back control
1. Childbirth classes
Taking a good childbirth class is one of the best things you can do. Let me explain.
You would never consider getting behind the wheel of a car if you’ve never learned to drive before, would you?
In the same way, why would you want to go into labor unprepared and not knowing what to expect?
The more prepared you are for what is coming ahead the better in control you will be.
It really will make all the difference to you as labor approaches.
A good childbirth class will alleviate any fear of childbirth that you may have and educate you properly.
The Online Prenatal Class by Pulling Curls is a great one to take. Firstly it’s online and secondly, you can take it together with your partner so that they can also be involved in the pregnancy process.
2. Prepare yourself mentally
I always made it a point the closer I got to labor the more I refused to listen to any scary stories about childbirth.
I needed to make sure that I was preparing myself to be mentally strong and I couldn’t do that if I was going to think about all the terrible things that “might happen”.
It’s extremely important to have your mind in the right place.
Do not focus on the pain of childbirth but rather on the fact that you will soon meet the little person that has been listening to your heartbeat for the last nine months.
Make that your focal point.
3. Remain at home for as long as possible
I know this might sound strange but it really does help.
If you get to the hospital too early you will be either told to return home or have to wait around in the waiting room until you are in active labor.
You don’t want to do that. Time will feel like it is dragging and you can easily become frustrated.
Don’t forget that if this is your first pregnancy it could take a little while before you reach active labor so spend the time in the comfort of your own home.
It’s a good idea to have a film or some type of activity planned when labor does first start to keep you occupied.
I know some women have taken to hoovering or cleaning once labor starts as a way to stay active and keep their minds occupied.
If that works for you then that’s fine. Personally, when I had my first born, when labor started I went shopping for clothes.
I know that sounds crazy but I needed some fresh air and even though I was experiencing contractions it wasn’t active labor so I could get around just fine.
I went to the shops with my husband and mom and I would stop and hold onto something every time I would experience a contraction.
I’m sure I looked like a crazy person to those that didn’t know but honestly, that was the last thing on my mind and it was just what I needed so I didn’t care.
4. Choose a midwife or doula that understands you
You’ll want a midwife or a doula that understands exactly what your needs are.
Believe me when labor starts that person aside from your partner will become like your left arm.
They will petition for you when you may not be in a position to do so.
Having the right person by your side especially if you want to have a natural birth is absolutely essential.
If you can’t choose a midwife then a doula is a great alternative.
A doula is basically a person that you hire and will spend time with you before you go into labor up until after you give birth.
The role of the doula is to give you emotional and physical support as you head into childbirth. The doula will also help you to get over the fear of childbirth and assure you along the way.
Your doula will know everything about your birth plan so if you can afford one they can be a really great asset to you.
5. Get some music together
Pick out some music and put together a playlist of songs that you like. Choose songs that will help you to feel empowered and comforted at the same time.
Music really has a strong effect on your psyche so choosing something that will lift your spirits is really important.
You can take it along with you and play it in the hospital as you labor.
- What to expect during labor – The embarrassing stuff no one tells you
- What you need to understand about the pain of childbirth
- The importance of skin to skin contact
6. Get in the water
If you haven’t yet considered a water birth you really should.
Having a water birth not only helps with the pain when you are in labor but it also relaxes you physically and mentally.
I would highly recommend it if you want to have a natural birth.
7. Stay upright
If you want labor to progress then your best bet is to labor upright as much as you possibly can.
When you stay upright you encourage baby to continue to come down.
You can still give birth whilst lying down but it certainly won’t be as easy as if you were in an upright position.
Even if you decide to have a water birth you can still be upright by staying on your knees.
It’s important to preserve as much energy as you can for when the time comes to push.
If you can, while your contractions are still a little apart you should try to rest in between each one to conserve energy. If that means lying down for part of your labor you can do.
Only do what your body can handle and what feels comfortable.
That nicely leads me on to the next point.
8. Let your body lead you
You must always let your body lead you once you are in labor, trust that your body knows what it is doing.
Your doctor or midwife will help you along the way but ultimately only you can feel what is happening inside your body so follow it and trust your own body and instincts.
Believe me, you’re more in tune with your body than you realize.
Sounds pretty normal right? Breathing when you get a contraction helps to manage the pain.
As you feel the contraction coming, take a deep breathe then slowly let it out as the contraction starts to release.
Taking these deep breaths ensures you have enough oxygen going around your body to help you and your baby. This can often be referred to as rhythmic breathing.
Rapid breathing is when you take quick breathes. This is panic breathing and will cause your baby to receive less oxygen. You don’t want to do that as it is very dangerous for both you and your baby.
10. Go easy on yourself
You must go easy on yourself because although you do want to be in control ultimately you cannot control everything and sometimes things are taken out of your hands.
The most important thing is that your baby is delivered safely. If that means you maybe can’t have a natural birth and end up with a c-section then so be it.
As long as you end up with a happy baby you haven’t failed.
Never let the fear of childbirth dictate to you. Put yourself in the best position possible and enjoy your time until you get to see your new bundle of joy.
It’s easy to let the fear of childbirth completely take you over but you do need to try and find a balance between not letting the fear of childbirth consume you and being realistic as to what you can and cannot control.
These 10 tips will definitely put you on the right path to having a more relaxed and informed birthing experience.