How to Get Over the Fear of Giving Birth (7 Techniques That Work Each Time)
Almost every expecting mother will fear that final day when she will put to bed. I know I did.
Actually, mine was a paralyzing fear. I would literally freeze when I thought of that day. Yes, I was dying to meet my little girl, but I’d also heard too many childbirth stories to make me fear that day.
Surprisingly, the fear of giving birth is quite common and actually has a name. Medically, it is referred to as tokophobia and up to 22% of expecting mothers experience it.
Tokophobia doesn’t even have to start when you become pregnant. Some women report developing it as early as their teenage years and it stays with them up until they actually become pregnant.
This fear, which starts out so small, is fed until it becomes so large, it consumes you.
I think the major mistake I made was going on YouTube to watch a few live birth videos. In retrospect, I know now that that wasn’t a very smart thing to do. However, at the time, I figured “facing” my fear was the best way to get over it.
Obviously, that didn’t work. If anything, it only served to deepen this fear to the point I would palpitate for minutes when I thought of childbirth as my due date drew closer.
Luckily, I was able to get over the fear of giving birth, and through very simple ways you wouldn’t even expect. Here are the methods that work for me:
1) Try Not to Think About It
It’s hard not to, especially if this has become a habit, but think of it this way: what’s the point of experiencing a pain a hundred times when you can do so just once?
And that’s what thinking of your delivery day does to all. All that unnecessary fear and anxiety rob you of the joys of one of the best experiences in life.
Also, pregnancy comes with its own downsides, not with all the pregnancy symptoms you will battle with. You don’t want to add anxiety to the equation.
So…take your mind off it and know everything will play out as it should when that time comes.
How To Take Your Mind Off This Time
At the start, it’s not going to be easy to just switch your mind to something else, so here are a few tips that should work:
- Change your environment or get something doing when you feel the fear coming. The thoughts that give rise to this fear can only grow when you let them. You want to be intentional about nipping them in the bud once they start to rear.
Do this often, and soon you will find you become more adept at recognizing ad stopping them before they gain roots.
- Understand that not all childbirth experiences are that painful. Another thing you should know is that no two women will have the same birthing experience, so even if you witnessed someone give birth in pain, it doesn’t mean you will have the same kind of experience.
I should know as I have made two trips to the delivery room and both experiences were different.
For my second, my labour and delivery were quite short and the pain was not as I’d expected.
- There’s also the fact that the end justifies the whole incidence. Literally. Whoever said you forget everything you go through once you set your eyes on your little one didn’t tell a lie.
If they did, no one would long for another baby just months after giving birth and definitely, no woman would make another trip to the delivery room after the first.
2) Avoid Triggers
In a bid to manage this fear, a lot of women make the same mistake I did: watch videos of childbirth which only works to deepen this fear.
This is not one of those cases where facing your fears works. You want to avoid as much as possible, anything that will heighten your fears, and that also includes listening to friends talk about their experiences.
You might have to tell them about your fears beforehand so they know to avoid all such topics around you.
3) Talk to Someone
If you find that the fear is something you are finding hard to overcome, then you should consider talking to someone.
In my case, I talked to my kid sister who was already a mom to two little boys at the time.
These talks, which happened a few times, helped a lot as they prepared me both emotionally and mentally for that day.
She made me understand fully the world of pregnancies and childbirth.
She also made me recollect stories of one or two friends who’d had what we called supernatural childbirth at the time.
One of these ladies had been in labour but felt almost no pain. At the hospital, she was checked and pronounced to be 6cm dilated. Her entire progression to 10cm didn’t take up to two hours and while her pain increased slightly, it wasn’t something she couldn’t manage.
The second lady had actually had her baby while in a coma which meant that she experienced zero labour.
I needed to hear these stories as they made real the fact labour was actually a unique experience and not just some anecdote cooked up to help allay childbirth fears.
4) Talk to a Therapist
If you find your fear is quite strongly rooted and not letting up, no matter what then you want to look into seeing a therapist.
Early on in your pregnancy, you should seek an expert who will help you develop techniques to better manage this fear.
5) Talk with Your Doctor
I debated listing this option and that’s because doctors, being used to seeing a certain amount of pain, have developed a sort of immunity and would never admit to one being so.
However, on the flip side, seeing so much pain daily, makes them experts in that field, so they would be in the best position to give you helpful tips for managing this time of your life.
Some techniques you want to master though include relaxation techniques and deep breathing exercises.
6) Have a Doula or Midwife Present
If you can, you want to have a midwife or doula present when giving birth.
These persons are trained and know a few techniques for getting your baby born with very little stress to you.
For one, an experienced midwife would know a few birthing positions and a few other techniques to make birthing your baby easier and also reduce the risk of you getting an episiotomy or a tear.
They would also know to encourage a perineal massage or pelvic floor exercises while pregnant to also reduce the risks of one.
7) Keep a Journal
Journaling helps you come to terms with your feelings, which is an important step in overcoming the fear of giving birth
How to Manage Labour Pain
Truthfully, labour pain is quite manageable up until you get to 6 -7 cm dilated. After this, managing this pain would be hinged on a few techniques.
Here are some that will help:
- Stay Active
You’ll find taking short walks around the hall will help take your mind off the contractions and make them much easier to bear.
- Go For a Massage.
Most women report having intense pain around their waist as their labour progressed. If this is you, then you want to have someone massage those spots for you as often as you feel the pressure building.
- Take Long Walks While Pregnant
So…there isn’t exactly any research backing this theory, but it is believed getting active by taking walks, especially from the seventh month of your pregnancy keeps your body active, making it much easier to manage the contractions.
You want to start by taking a 10 – 15 minutes walk daily and slowly increase the duration as your body gets used to it.
However, you should check with your doctor or healthcare provider before starting any kind of exercise at all.
- Don’t Forget Your Breathing Exercises
Remember those breathing exercises you were thought during your antenatal visits? They help a ton here. The thing is you will have to be conscious about practicing them now, as the contractions could make you forget how to.
- Opt for an Epidural
If you find the pain more than you can manage, then you could consider getting an epidural.
This remedy might be somewhat pricey, but it is totally worth every penny.
- Have a Water Birth
Being submerged in water relaxes your muscles, which translates to less pain for the mother.
I guess this explains why up to 31% of women opt for a water birth.
A few things you want to take away from this post is that pregnancy, labour, and childbirth are unique experiences. The fact that one woman found it painful doesn’t mean the next will and even for the same woman, the next pregnancy and delivery might be an entirely different ball game.
There’s also the fact there are strategies and techniques for managing this pain, so much so it becomes bearable.