How can I ease my anxiety about childbirth?
What should I know about childbirth anxiety?
- Feelings of anxiety, fear and nervousness about childbirth are normal
- Ways to calm your fears
- Who can support you
Is childbirth anxiety normal?
It is perfectly normal to experience anxiety about childbirth as your due date nears, whether you’re a first time mom or an experienced mom. With so many unknowns – Will contractions hurt? Will my water break in public? What if I don’t make it to the hospital in time?! – it makes sense to have a little nervousness about the big day. You’re likely feeling a combination of excitement about meeting your baby, along with fear of how it’s going to go down. Remember, your body instinctively knows exactly how to grow and birth a baby, but if knowing that isn’t quite enough to ease your fears, here are some tips on calming your childbirth nerves before the big day.
Seek out support
While some moms will gladly tell you all the exhaustive details of their extensively long labor or birth plan that went awry, you want to surround yourself with stories from moms who had a positive birth experience. While every labor is unique and there is no way to predict how your specific childbirth will go, it can help ease fears to hear about positive birthing experiences to keep you in a less fearful state of mind.
Talk to your doctor
Let your healthcare provider know how you’re feeling. They’ve been through this process hundreds (even thousands!) of times, and can talk you through different scenarios you may be worried about. Some hospitals even let you tour the maternity ward so you will have a better idea of what to expect when you arrive for delivery.
Take a class
Many obstetrics offices, hospitals and birthing centers offer childbirth courses you can take either in person or online to help you learn more about the anatomy and physiology of your own body, the different stages of labor and the birthing process. This is a great place to ask any of your childbirth questions.
Practicing relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises or meditation can help you calm your nerves when you’re feeling especially anxious. Working with a therapist may be beneficial to help you focus on the exact cause of your anxiety and work through it with you.
Consider a doula
Doulas are trained to support mom physically and emotionally before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, best experience possible. Working with a doula during labor can provide a more positive birth experience, and most doulas will work with you for weeks or months before your due date to prepare for childbirth, ease your fears, and support you during your pregnancy. Having this support person, who is chosen by you to be there for you, can be a big anxiety reducer. Many doulas will offer sliding scale payment options, and a doula is a great gift idea to put on your baby registry.
Ultimately, the only person controlling things on the day of your delivery is your baby, however you’re in complete control of your mind. By preparing for childbirth with tools to help calm your nerves and reduce your fears, you’ll feel more empowered and ready for the big day.
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