As exciting and rewarding as expecting a baby can be, it’s also completely normal and somewhat expected for women to feel a certain amount of anxiety about giving birth. For some women it’s manageable, but for others it can turn into paralyzing fear.
The good thing is that so many women have done this before you, which allows you to learn from their experiences and provides you with an opportunity to prepare your body and mind for what awaits. Here are some effective methods to reduce your anxiety about birth.
If you’re truly scared about labor and you feel anxious increasingly more often and for longer periods of time, the worst thing you can do is to smile and pretend everything is just fine. Bear in mind that you’re not alone in your body any more and that you have to put your baby’s health first. According to researchers from Zurich, if you’re under long-term stress during your pregnancy, the rise in the cortisol levels can affect your amniotic fluid as well.
In order to avoid this, it’s imperative that you don’t simply ignore the issue and hope it will disappear on its own. So, before you can find ways to actually help yourself and deal with your problem, it’s essential that you realize that a problem even exist. Once you do that, you’ll be on a good way towards composing yourself and defeating your anxiety.
With so much information available online, it’s often hard to filter out what’s real and objective, and what’s overexaggerated or even made up. There are numerous truly frightening stories you can read, some of which may have ended badly, but this doesn’t mean that you have to read those stories and let them add to your already existing stress. Even if those stories are 100% true, there’s no reason for you to think that something like that can happen to you or expect only the worst possible outcomes of everything related to childbirth.
Make it your mission to avoid documentaries, movies and shows where the sole focus is on the bad experiences and other women’s traumatic recollections. Instead, opt for neutral, informative and calming books, articles and videos, so that you can concentrate on your own and your baby’s well-being and get ready for the delivery day.
As mentioned above, the problem of birth-related anxiety isn’t uncommon and there are many other women who struggle with the same issues as you. You can expect that those women have also tried to alleviate their stress one way or another and that, for many of them, something eventually worked. Furthermore, there are women who have already gone through all of this and have given birth to healthy children without any complications. In cases where there were some complications, perhaps you’d like to know what lead to them and what you can do to avoid them.
For all of these reasons, you should seek out other mothers, so that you can exchange stories about your experiences. Some close friends, neighbors or family members would be good candidates for this, but if that’s not an option, there are some amazing apps allowing you to connect with other moms. Some women use these apps only to chat, but sometimes these like-minded moms meet in person, too. That way you can sit down and have meaningful and helpful conversations with some of them in a relaxing atmosphere.
No matter where you’re from, there should be organized antenatal classes near you. These classes are useful for many reasons. Not only can they help you understand the changes your body is going through, how to take care of yourself during pregnancy and how you should behave once the labor begins, but they can also ease your mind and tone down your childbirth-related fears. Some of these classes are held for the pregnant women only, but there are those which welcome their partners or another trusted person as well. Things that you can learn there range from maintaining a healthy diet and exercising throughout pregnancy to mastering different relaxation techniques and helping yourself go through labor and birth. You can also learn how to take care of your newborn.
Furthermore, becoming familiar with the Lamaze method can also help you unwind and even control your pain during childbirth, so ask if there are classes available to you that teach it. Most maternity hospitals offer antenatal classes, so talk to your obstetrician or your midwife and ask for their recommendations.
Having people you can rely on when things get overwhelming can mean a lot, which is why you should ask a person or several of them to provide you with the support you need when you go into labor. This can be your partner, your doula, a family member or a friend, but they should be informed of your delivery plans. It’s important that they know whether you want to give birth vaginally, or have a cesarean section, whether you want pain medication or not, but most importantly, they should know you.
When there’s somebody at your side who knows exactly what kind of music helps you relax, what you need to hear to feel more empowered and exactly what they can do to calm you down at the perfect moment is priceless. Maybe you just need somebody to hold your hand through it all, and that’s fine. So, choose the people you want in your support team and have them ready to step up and help you when the moment for that comes.
Don’t let your fear and stress grab you by the throat, but rather find a way to control them and get them out of the way. The advice from this article should help, but feel free to ask your doctor anything else you’re curious or worried about.