Easing anxiety about childbirth

What to Know

  • Feeling anxiety or stress about childbirth is perfectly normal
  • Speak up and ask questions to ease your concerns
  • Learn some strategies for reducing stress so you (and baby!) are more comfortable while laboring

New-mom-to-be nerves are normal! Give yourself the benefit of information, guidance, and support. This can be everything from bringing up your concerns with your doctor, taking a childbirth class, watching documentaries, reading books, and talking with friends and family who’ve been down this path before you. There’s no such thing as a silly question — and often simply knowing what to expect in certain situations is enough to make it less scary.

Pregnant woman laying in bed

What to Do

Speak up!

Talk about any fears or anxieties with your primary care provider, friends and family. And ask lots of questions about the process – no question is too big or small.

Get input

Ask friends of all ages who’ve had babies what worked for them and what advice they have for you. Read books by experts whose values align with yours.

Take a birthing class

Put yourself first

Recurring stress very often occurs because we neglect the essentials. Take the time to sleep enough, eat right, and fit in some physical activity (a walk can accomplish this while also giving you time to yourself or with a friend).

Try forms of relaxation therapy

Yoga, meditation, massage, deep breathing or stretching are great activities to calm the mind. Make a point of taking a little time (even just 10 minutes!) for yourself to do something relaxing or to put your feet up and do nothing at all.

Cut out smoking

In addition to the documented health risks for you and your baby (and anyone else who lives or works with you), smoking is often linked to stress and depression.

Examine your social circle

Families and communities have a funny way of both enhancing and undermining your own experiences. Make sure you are surrounding yourself with people who offer you love and support.

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