Dealing with Fears of Childbirth

Fear of childbirth is common. This article explains some of those fears and what can be done to help eleviate those fears.
by Patricia Hughes
Fear of childbirth is very common among pregnant women. There are a variety of causes for fear in women, including fear of pain and fear of the unknown. You can overcome your fear of birth and go on to have a very satisfying birth experience. Learning about labor can often help alleviate fear. For the most extreme cases, professional help or hypnosis can help take away the fear.  
Many of our fears are cultural. Before hospital births were common, women delivered babies in their homes. Young women and girls were often present at the births of younger siblings and family members. As a result, they grew up to see birth as a natural part of life and not something to be feared. By the time she got married and had a baby, she had likely seen many labors and wasn’t afraid of delivering her own.  
Now, birth takes place in the hospital. For most women, their own baby’s birth is the first they have experienced. They know very little about the process and this increases fear. Birth is often not seen as a natural life experience. This results in more fear. To add to this problem, some people feel the need to tell pregnant women every horror story they’ve ever heard regarding birth. Some seem to focus on the negative aspects and feel the need to share these with first time mothers.  
The fear of pain is a common cause of fear of birth. To combat this fear, learn about your pain relief options. Learn about both drugs and natural pain relief methods. Take a class and practice the methods learned to help you handle labor. Learn about relaxation, breathing, massage and distraction to help you cope with the pain.  
Lack of knowledge contributes to the fear of birth. Learn as much as you can about labor while you are pregnant. Taking a childbirth class is a good way to gain information. Read books about labor and birth. Watch videos of childbirth to help you know what to expect. The more you learn about birth, the less afraid you will become.  
Talk to friends who have had positive birth experiences. You know who the positive people in your life are and the negative people. Stay away from the negative people and talk to the positive people in your life. Talking can really help overcome fear. If you don’t have any friends to talk to, spend time talking with your husband or doctor. If you are extremely fearful, consider a few sessions with a counselor to help you overcome the fear. 
Write a birth plan for your upcoming birth. As you learn about birth, you will develop some definite opinions about the kind of birth experience you want. Writing a plan will help you think about what you want and what you want to avoid. Putting your wishes down in writing can be very empowering. Share your plan with your doctor.  
Take a tour of the hospital where your baby will be born. If you are taking your child birth classes at that hospital, a tour may be included. If not, call and request a tour. This will give you a chance to ask questions and see where your baby will be born. You will get a feel for the place on the tour. This can help relieve the fear of the unknown and make you feel better.  
Consider taking a hypnosis for child birth course. This can help you overcome your fear and lessen the pain you feel during the birth. You can take the class with a certified hypnotherapist. The internet is a good place to find practitioners in your area. Ask your doctor or child birth educator for a referral. Home courses are available on CD. These can be ordered on the internet.
Patricia Hughes is a freelance writer and mother of four. Patricia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University. She has written extensively on pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and breastfeeding. In addition, she has written about home décor and travel.

No part of this article may be copied or reproduced in any form without the express permission of More4Kids Inc © 2006

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