Many expectant mothers are waiting for childbirth not only with positive emotions. The strongest anxious experiences of women are sometimes associated with the birth of a child, often bringing them to a state of panic fear. But is birth without fear possible?
First of all, you need to understand that anxiety associated with the process of childbirth, although it is very common among pregnant women, is not at all as natural and harmless as it may seem. Fear of this process not only hinders the enjoyment of pregnancy itself, spoils the mood of the expectant mother, and adversely affects the unborn child, but can also directly affect the course of labor.
Fear of childbirth is a powerful paralyzing factor that can increase pain and even slow down labor activity at the most inappropriate moment. Therefore, it is important to learn not to be afraid. Birth without fear is a guarantee that the process is more likely to run smoothly and quickly.
What are Pregnant Women Afraid of?
How will the birth take place? What do I need to do? What if something goes wrong, something happens to the child? There are so many questions that sometimes they completely capture the mind of a pregnant woman and provoke the emergence of a feeling of constant comprehensive anxiety. In such a situation it is important for the future mother to tell herself “Stop!” Stop torturing yourself with questions that you cannot answer.
How not be afraid of childbirth? To cope with the fear of the unknown, you need to minimize all ambiguities. Get the most complete, clear, easy to understand, and correct information about what awaits you. Of course, it’s difficult to choose the right source of information and practical skills to prepare for childbirth. Thus, the best option is to attend specialized courses for pregnant women.
It is important that the classes reflect diverse moments. They should provide information about the physiology of pregnancy and childbirth, about the purpose of certain medical manipulations. Such classes should create a favorable psychological atmosphere and the right mood for childbirth.
Teachers of the classes should provide information about possible ways of non-medical assistance for oneself during contractions; about what happens to the child during pregnancy and during birth, etc. Not only theoretical material but also practical exercises are of great importance: learning proper breathing, self-massage techniques, relaxation, ways to calm down or activate your strength, etc.
First of all, the expectant mother needs to understand that birth pain is not just an inevitable companion of childbirth, it is also the main assistant.
Birth pain differs from any other. This pain is informative. It has reasonable and well-defined goals and objectives. According to the intensity and duration of pain during contractions, a woman and an obstetrician-gynecologist understand at what stage the birth process is, how long it remains to wait for the baby to appear, whether everything proceeds safely, etc. Therefore, the main thing is to tune incorrectly and understand that pain is just a signal, an indicator that will guide you.
Another important point is associated with the fear of pain. Pain and fear are closely interrelated. It means that you yourself can influence your feelings by controlling your emotions. With great tension and fear in the body, adrenaline-like hormones are secreted. They increase muscle tone, heartbeat, and in addition, reduce the pain threshold.
It turns out that the more the woman is afraid, the more she stiffens during the contractions and the more painful and longer the process goes. Conversely, in a state of relaxation, with proper breathing, contractions are perceived simply as muscle contraction, unpleasant, but quite tolerable. Before birth, try to learn pain relief techniques that will help you relax and reduce discomfort.
The Most Common Fears of Future Mothers
If you do not learn how to manage your fears and calmly react to any news, then 9 months will indeed be months of anxiety, and not a happy period of the beginning of motherhood.
The most common fears of future mothers are the following:
- Fear of the new state in general (mood swings, change in taste preferences, regime changes, fatigue, drowsiness, decrease in activity, etc.)
- Aesthetic fears (fear of changing the body shape, loss of attractiveness and the likelihood of not regaining the former shapes)
- Genetic fears (concern for the genetic heredity of the child, fear of pathologies, as a result – anxiety before ultrasound and delivery of tests)
- Fear of miscarriage or fetal death (in general, fear for the health and normal development of a child who may be affected by influenza, infectious diseases, taking antibiotics or other drugs)
- Fear of pain and childbirth (fear of pain, an unpredictable and uncontrollable process, etc.)
- A fear for the future (financial possibilities of the family, housing problem, career issue, moral and psychological atmosphere in the family, etc.)
- Fear of being a bad mother (fear of being unprepared to care for a baby, etc.)
Why do Fears Appear?
Despite the fact that there are still nine months ahead, in reality, this is not so much. And time flies very fast.
Therefore, you need to live and enjoy your pregnancy, your new feelings, and your sensations. Do not be afraid of every push, upcoming delivery, or other people’s experience.
Fears can be caused by:
- New physiological state
- A constant feeling of overwork
- Changes in hormonal levels
- Partial withdrawal of mother from active life, especially in the third trimester of pregnancy;
- stories of relatives or close friends who are trying to share their pregnancy history or experiences in childbirth
What is Important to Know about the Fear
Knowing your fears, you need to understand the reason for their appearance. Only by knowing the true cause of anxieties and fears, can they be overcome. Thus, birth without fear will not be a miracle for you.
A very serious fear is the fear of pain. The pain during childbirth is inevitable, but you can and should minimize it or distract from it, relaxing and switching to something else.
Interestingly, the feeling of pain is caused by fear.
Fear provokes compression and muscle tension. In this state they resist the natural flow of labor, causing pain.
Many women call the pain during childbirth the most severe that they have experienced throughout their lives. It is compared with the condition when you simultaneously broke 20 bones. It is believed that the human body is able to withstand pain intensity up to 45 dels (unit of pain). However, during childbirth, a woman feels pain up to 57 dels.
Risk factors for severe pain in childbirth:
- First birth
- Painful menstruation before pregnancy
- Late childbirth (after 30 years)
- Problems with the cervix. For example, it has been treated for erosion
- Poor psycho prevention. Even the fact that a woman, for example, is lonely, significantly increases the risk that pain during labor will be severe.
In order to relieve natural childbirth, there are 2 groups of methods: medicamental and non-drug one.
Non-Drug Methods of Labor Pain Relief:
- Fit ball
- Special breathing techniques, etc
These methods can be combined, or used in turn. They really work and relieve some of the pain. And most importantly, they can help you calm down and experience birth without fear. A woman has a feeling of control of the process of childbirth, participation in the situation. However, the influence of each of these methods on the body is strictly individual.
Medical Methods of Labor Pain Relief
Local analgesia (epidural, spinal, spinal-epidural) is the most effective method of pain relief during labor.
Why Is It Useful?
- During analgesia, only pain is “turned off”. Woman does not cease to feel her legs. She can walk, feel contractions, but without pain (or feeling it only partially). As a result a woman gives birth without fear
- The effect of the application of this method always comes, and it is predictable
How will epidural analgesia affect childbirth?
Such analgesia does not affect the natural course of the childbirth process. It only relieves pain.
How Does Pain Relief Affect a Child?
The dose of anesthetic that is used for epidural anesthesia is minimal. It does not affect the work of the mother’s heart, the uteroplacental blood flow, or the baby. Children who are born under anesthesia feel as good as those born without it. After all, pain in childbirth often leads to the fact that a woman sharply and deeply breathes, which can lead to impaired blood flow to the fetus and cause oxygen starvation (hypoxia).
No matter what method of anesthesia is right for you: proper breathing, psychological mood, aromatherapy, drug pain relief, it is important to know: giving birth without fear and pain in modern medicine is not a miracle at all, but a completely realizable reality.
Childbirth is Great!
Childbirth is the end of pregnancy. This is what you have been going for all nine months. Of course, this is exciting and a little scary, but fear can also be different. It can excite and tickle, as when approaching something new and unknown. This is fear-interest. And it can paralyze and stop moving on. This is a completely different kind of fear of childbirth. The birth of a child is the most unforgettable and beautiful moment in a woman’s life if treated correctly. Allow yourself to experience the joy of such a wonderful event. Fill your memories of childbirth with positive moments, because, in fact, it depends on you whether your baby’s birthday will be the happiest day of your life.
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist, mother. Taking part in procedures of social adaptation of the foster children in new families. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the motherhow.com project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who are planning, expecting, and already having babies.