I'm Scared to Give Birth! | Erie Birth Doula | Meadville Birth Doula | Childbirth Education

It’s common to have reservations about labor and delivery. It’s only natural to fear new situations where the unexpected could happen. With education, support, and encouragement, fears can be replaced with empowerment and confidence in your body and the process. Research shows that those who fear childbirth are more likely to have interventions and longer labors.

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Let’s talk about 7 common fears regarding childbirth.

1. "I'm afraid my water will break in a public place!"

Research actually shows that less than 15% of pregnant people begin their labor with their water breaking before they feel contractions. Even if your water does break, it’s likely to be a slow leak rather than a dramatic gush.

2. "I'm scared of the intense pain."

A painful labor is a concern for many people in our culture. It’s important to remember that the pain of childbirth is not the pain of injury. It has a miraculous purpose and this is what you’ve been looking forward to for the past nine months! Fearing the pain will only intensify it since anxiety makes your muscles tense.

3. "I'm worried about a possible episiotomy."

Most obstetricians now allow the vagina to tear on its own, instead of performing this procedure. The ACOG recommends against all routine episiotomies and midwives rarely use this technique at all.

4. "I'm scared I will have a really long labor."

The average labor is 20 hours for first time moms and 8 hours for second time moms. This will give you plenty of time to make it to the place you have chosen to give birth.

5. "What if I don't make it to the hospital in time?!"

Education is important when it comes to knowing when to head to the hospital. Some people choose to follow the 5-1-1 rule. That is, when contractions are coming every 5 minutes, lasting 1 minute, and have been that way for 1 hour. That being said, it is more important to follow your instincts and listen to your body. When you can no longer talk through contractions, you are in active labor.

6. "What about that big, scary, epidural needle?"

The epidural may become a lot less frightening when you find out the care provider will numb you well before inserting it. After that, all you should feel is some burning and pressure. This discomfort will soon be worth it to give you the pain relief you desire.

7. "What if I poop during the pushing stage?"

Pooping during pushing can be an embarrassing concern but this does not phase birth attendants who expect this to happen and will clean it up without mentioning it and before you suspect anything. It is an insignificant part of this physiological process. The truth is, you'll probably never know if this happened or not!

Explaining fear and childbirth:

After labor has started, there are certain factors that can slow the process down. If the fight-or-flight hormone (adrenaline) is activated by feelings of fear or danger, contractions will begin to diminish. Adrenaline can even stop labor altogether. This is because, being mammals, our bodies are designed to give birth in the wild, where birth was postponed in dangerous situations so we could seek safety. To keep adrenaline levels low, the birthing parent should try to stay as relaxed as possible.

It is important to be prepared when it comes to what to expect. This will help you stay calm. Remind yourself that your body was designed to give birth. Having a doula, and attending childbirth education classes can do wonders to help you feel ready for labor. After you get past the fear, this will be one of the most exciting and memorable days of your life! You are braver and stronger than you think!

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