What to do if you are scared of giving birth
It is completely normal to feel a bit scared of an approaching birth, many first time mums and mums who have given birth before feel this tingle of anticipation and worry. As this rather wonderful blog post from Rachel Reed puts it, Feel the Fear, and Birth Anyway!
BUT – if the feelings or fear and worry are so strong that it is causing you anxiety in everyday life then you need to address these fears as they could impact on your birth or cause you to make choices which you may later regret.
“My baby is back to back and I’ve heard back labour is awful!”
The position of the baby inside your womb when labour starts is referred to as the foetal position.
It can be determined usually by a midwife palpating the outside of your tummy to assess how baby is lying. Babies in an optimal position are facing to the left with their heads down.
This enables them to have the smallest possible number of movements to negotiate their way out when labour starts. Back to Back refers to the position of baby when they are facing forwards with their backs close to mums spine. The theory is that labour may be more intense with baby in this position because spines rub together and baby has further to try and move before they can be born, unless they come out sunny side up.
Why does back labour hurt more?
Now – I have another theory – with so many mums saying “Back labour hurts terribly!” “Back labour lasts for AGES!” “Back labour is awful!…..” is it any wonder that if a midwife mentions to mum that baby is in the back to back position that mum starts to feel scared?
All that worry and tension in the lead up to labour means mum is prepared for the worst possible pain, in turn, all that worry and tension mean mum is much more likely to experience painful labour and so the myth perpetuates. It would be very difficult for mums to say whether back labour is worse than ‘normal’ labour because they haven’t experienced it.
And if they go on to have another baby then that experience will be different again because they are a second-time mum.
Remember there is no ‘normal’ in pregnancy and labour, only what you experience. Everything is a variation and there is no right way or wrong way to experience it because it is personal and your choice.[
“I hear terrible birth stories all the time!”
Fear is a powerful emotion
My advice with well-meaning friends and family is to halt the negativity. Birth is all about being informed and being positive. If people start regaling you with terrible stories about how horrifying birth is and how painful it then stops them. You can be polite and kind but you don’t have to listen to it.
Try something like, ‘I am sorry you had such a difficult time perhaps we can talk about it after I have given birth?’
“What is the easiest way to give birth?”
The easiest way to give birth is by being informed about the process, feeling involved at every step of the way and being prepared to make and change decisions.
Birth can take many forms, from vaginal to surgery. For some mums, one option will be easier than another. Ultimately there is no right or wrong way to give birth BUT there are implications in what happens along the way.
Easiest = positive
Fear of childbirth can be a powerful emotion
Trust yourself to beat the fear
For me, the easiest birth is the one which is the most positive. If you come out the other side of labour and birth feeling happy, content, positive and respected then you will have an easy time of it. Yes, you might be knackered and sore but you can feel good about what happened.
You then have the best chance of bonding well with baby, establishing breastfeeding if this is what you would like to try and moving on with life. It doesn’t matter if you birthed wild in the woods with no pain relief or had a section in a hospital if you had a choice and were supported your journey will be easy.
My top tips for active labour:
- Move – keeping active can help
- Use water
- Remember you always have a choice
- You will birth best where you feel safest
- Don’t feel scared, instead, do something to feel stronger and more confident.
- Attending a class like Daisy Birthing can help you to achieve the easy positive birth you are aiming for.