Giving Voice to Common Childbirth Fears

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Even the most confident birth goddesses in the world have their concerns! 

Photo courtesy of Sifra

The trick is coping with those fears, concerns, worries or questions as they come up.

Since we know that fear actually increases pain, it’s a good idea to address those fears prior to birth.

The FEAR- PAIN-TENSION paradigm is essentially the cycle that occurs as fear creates tension which enhances pain. It makes labor longer, more painful and more difficult for both MotherBaby.

Remove the obstacles in your path to create a safe, satisfying and pleasurable birth.

Many have been conditioned by the cultures we live in to either see childbirth as joyful, powerful and a rite of passage from maidenhood to motherhood, or to immediately think of fear and pain.

How do you see it?

As a Lamaze Childbirth Educator and DONA International Doula trainer, I have been asking women and men about their fears in birth for over 30 years. 

It is interesting that that fear in childbirth is growing at a time where we know more about childbirth. 

Science is telling us more and more that for low-risk, childbearing women safety is often with doing less and trusting our Body’s and Baby’s amazing design more.

First, let's look at some common fears

  • Pain
  • Medical complications
  • Life changes
  • Lack of dignity
  • Loss of control
  • personal or outside expectations
  • when and if labor has begun
  • lack of respectful care
  • provider / doula not being present
  • postpartum depression

“You must acknowledge your fears first before you can begin to let them go.”

Now, let's discuss ways to release those fears

  • Take an evidence based childbirth class
  • Hire a supportive provider
  • Create a safe space to labor undisturbed
  • Walk, dance and move as your body tells you
  • Eat and Drink
  • Circle yourself with support
  • Understand the options you may need to consider
  • Learn techniques that provide comfort in birth
  • Ensure you are receiving prenatal care, not prenatal scare
  • Hire a doula you trust
  • Ask for help

Releasing your fears will open up the pathways for the pleasurable, loving hormones of labor to shine through. 

Now what? Rather than ignore your fear(s) it is helpful to look them in the eye, and acknowledge them!

Don’t judge yourself – make sure to allow yourself to fully feel and express these feelings. 

Piper, from Orgasmic Birth expressed her reluctance to advance to stage 2 during one of her births – “To conclude another pregnancy and transition from sacred gestation space, to the postpartum love bubble.” For her, the solution was honoring and discussing her feelings with her support team until she felt ready “After acknowledging my inner dialogue, I really couldn’t justify holding myself back any longer.”

Educate, Knowledge is Power!

Ask yourself, which fears will subside with good childbirth classes and information? 

(One of the goals of good childbirth education is to address your fears and provide good current evidenced based knowledge about all your options, the labor process and provide you with a took kit for comfort).

Talk with your caregiver to make sure you will be respected and part of decision making, ask any questions you need to know about you or your baby’s well-being and their practices during childbirth.

Explore and Express your fears on your own, with your partner, a doula, educator or if you feel you need additional support with a birth therapist or therapist who is familiar with childbearing

Learn and practice relaxation, mediation, yoga and/or prayer. Explore modalities that allows you to move thru fear to relaxation and confidence.

In labor, it is normal for fears to arise, the key is to create the safety and privacy you need to express your fears, to cry, to moan to yell, to pray, to let your fears out.

Labor is an emotional time, being prepared by addressing your fears prior and having a plan to allow the release of emotions in labor will help you to have a powerful birth.

As a doula, a question I learned from my mentor Penny Simkin, and one I always ask women as a way for them to check-in and ask themselves when labor is slow and long is,  “what is going thru your mind.” When it is a fear, or emotion, having a tool kit to release your feelings is an important part of any birth bag.

Often a flood of tears flow, opening up emotionally, opens the body to bring your baby closer to your arms.

Let me guide you to address your fears and feel empowered for birth...

Join me for Pain to Power – my online childbirth course with addresses your questions and concerns, physical and emotional changes and feel confident and powerful to be a part of the collaborative decision making process for birth. 

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