If you have ever been afraid about giving birth, you are NOT alone!
Preparing physically and mentally to give birth can be overwhelming and terrifying, especially if you are a first time mom.
In the weeks leading up to each of my boys births I could not wait to meet the sweet babies that had been growing inside of me for 9 long months!
But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid of giving birth each and every time.
I think part of it is human nature. I mean if the thought of pushing something the size of a small watermelon out of your lady parts doesn’t cause at least some anxiety then you are my new hero.
The one thing we know for sure about birth is it can be unpredictable.
Each birth is it’s own unique experience. I have actually had a different birth each and every time.
With my oldest son – it was an unplanned and probably unnecessary c-section.
My second baby was a planned home birth – 4 hours of natural pushing(… yes I SAID FOUR.)
My most recent birth was an uncomplicated vaginal hospital delivery with an epidural.
In the weeks leading up to each birth, there has always been some apprehension about how everything would happen, if I could handle it and then the “what ifs”
Today we are going to tackle the top 12 fears most moms have about giving birth.
Like I said before, you are not alone if you have ever been afraid of giving birth, most women have been at some point.
I’m going to show you how you can put your mind at ease and prepare for the big day!
This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link.
#1. My vagina will NEVER be the same.
One of the biggest fears women have about giving birth is how its going to change . .umm . . down there.
Women fear after giving birth vaginally that it may hurt to have sex or that sex will not be enjoyable for them or their partner.
Some women fear being to “loose” and how their partner may perceive that.
Healing your lady bits after giving birth is not a walk in the park. Your vagine is going to be sore for quiet some time.
It will take about 6-12 weeks to heal fully (depending on if you had an episiotomy, natural tear or other birth complications)
The good news is that most of the effects are temporary and WILL NOT last forever!
More and more women are turning to pelvic floor therapy to heal their vagina’s after birth. They are specialized physical therapist that teach women how to activate and strengthen their pelvic core, a group of muscles and organs that form a sling around your rectum and vagina.
I saw a pelvic floor therapist after the birth of my third baby and noticed improvements within weeks!
These ain’t your mama’s kegels, ladies!
#2. Pooping and pushing.
This is such a common one. Every woman is afraid of this. No one wants to do it.
The fact is most of us that have given birth and pushed a baby out probably have done it AND NEVER KNOWN! What?!
When you are pushing effectively, you are bearing down almost exactly as if you are . . you guessed it, pooping.
Labor and delivery nurses see this every day and honestly, I know this is a big shock, it’s just not that big of a deal.
A lot of women do poop as they push and your awesome L/D nurse is going to clean it up and act as if it never happened and you probably won’t even know.
A – because they know this is a HUGE fear for women and B – they see it all the time. No biggie.
#3. My water broke in Target, now what?!?!
No one wants to be standing in the center aisle at Target minding their own business when the flood gates open and Niagara Falls comes rushing out of your undies.
But the fact of the matter is, no matter where you are when your water breaks, you can’t do anything about it. You can worry all day long but that won’t change it.
PLUS, a lot of women’s water doesn’t break before labor begins. Many times the amniotic sac does not rupture until labor is well under way or it may have to be broken by your obstetrician if it doesn’t happen on its own.
If this is a huge fear, try to limit your public outings the farther along you are (>37 weeks). But honestly there is no magic 8 ball to tell you when your water may break and you may make yourself more miserable than it’s worth.
#4. How will I know if it is “real” labor?
TRUST ME . . . you will know when labor is for real. I hated when people said that to me. When I was preparing for my second birth, it was going to be the first time I had actually given birth. (my first was a c-section and I never actually went into labor)
One of the biggest fears I had was, “How will I know when it is the real thing?”
When I went into labor on my own finally at 41 weeks, I knew. There was NO denying that this was true labor.
You will know its the real thing when your contractions continue to:
- get stronger
- last longer
- come closer together
Your water may/may not break and you will most likely see whats called bloody show.
One thing I worried about was coming in to get checked when it wasn’t real labor at the L&D triage. I was worried the nurses would think I was crazy for coming in to get checked if it wasn’t the “real” thing.
Don’t worry, that’s what they are there for and they see it all the time.
The worst that can happen is you will be sent home to wait a little longer.
#5. Dying during childbirth.
There is no denying it. Unexpected things do happen during childbirth. It’s not without risk.
But there is no reason to let that fear consume you. According to the World Health Organization mots maternal deaths are preventable with high quality maternal care during pregnancy and births that are attended by skilled health care professionals
The 5 major complications that account for nearly 75% of all maternal deaths are :
- severe bleeding (mostly bleeding after childbirth)
- infections (usually after childbirth)
- high blood pressure during pregnancy (pre-eclampsia and eclampsia)
- complications from delivery
- unsafe abortion
Other pre-existing complications do exist that contribute to maternal death such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity to name a few.
But as I said before most of these things are preventable! The biggest thing you can do to ensure the safety of you and your baby is to go into a pregnancy as healthy as you possibly can and seek out high quality maternal care during this time!
#6. What if my baby has to go to the NICU?
With the birth of my last son it NEVER crossed my mind that he may end up having to go to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
All my other baby’s were healthy and I had NO complications.
My birth with my last baby was beautiful and uncomplicated. They immediately put him on my chest and I breastfed him right after delivery.
Then the baby nurse took him to check him out and all of a sudden everything happened so quick!
Long story short, he ended up not being able to control his blood sugars and 30 minutes after he was born was whisked away to the NICU and I didn’t get to see or hold him until later that night.
All of the family that waited to meet him afterwards were not allowed to go back and see or hold him.
My children actually didn’t get to meet their brother until we brought him home almost a week later!
Again, I will tell you there are just somethings that are out of our control. I hated that it ended up that way and I won’t lie, it was hard to go through.
I waited 9 long months to hold my baby after he was born and I was left with empty arms and an ache in my heart.
However, he was in the best place he could have been getting the care he needed. It gave me a WHOLE NEW appreciation for NICU nurses.
They were so great about getting me as involved in his care as I could be. When I came back to nurse him they went above and beyond to make me comfortable and made sure to update me often!
Usually NICU nurses and the physicians that work there already know that parents are anxious. They do a great job at helping you through it!
#7. I’m not going to be able to handle the pain.
The top reason women are afraid to give birth. If you have never given birth there is no way to know how you will handle the pain.
There are so many options for pain relief when you give birth. You may want to have natural, drug free birth or get an epidural as soon as you get to the hospital.
You are still going to want to know how to manage the pain in early labor because if you get the epidural too early it can slow your progress.
Try this online course to prepare you for labor and delivery. Hilary at Pulling Curls is a labor and delivery nurse that created this course to tell you exactly how to handle the pain of labor.
She goes over the different ways pain can be managed in labor in the hospital and how to manage your pain naturally if you go that route!
You won’t regret taking this course, I promise you! Even if you plan on using every drug available to not feel a thing during birth, unexpected things DO HAPPEN and you wouldn’t want to go into birth without a plan!
According to ACOG, nearly 53 to 79% of women experience vaginal tearing during labor and delivery. YIKES!!
While it is impossible to predict if you will tear during delivery, there are things you can do to minimize the possibility.
Listen to your body during the pushing phase and don’t rush through it. Give your perineum time to stretch and accommodate your baby coming out.
When you feel thing “ring of fire” (your baby crowning) you may be tempted to push even harder but you are more likely to tear if you do that.
Also your midwife or OB can perform perineal massage during the process to help your tissues stretch as the baby comes down the birth canal.
#9. Being noisy.
Many women who plan to have a natural delivery also fear being noisy during the process. You may not know how you will react to the pain and wonder if you are going to scream, moan or wail.
In the book she talks about how moaning low and controlling your noise and breathing can help relax your pelvic muscles to help you dilate.
If you are hurting it is natural to tense up, you don’t realize how that affects your whole body.
I believe this was one of the BIGGEST factors that helped me achieve my natural birth.
#10. What if I don’t get to the hospital in time?
If this has ever crossed your mind in the last few weeks of pregnancy, you are NOT ALONE! No one, I repeat no one, wants to give birth unplanned at home or in the car.
Especially the car. We have all seen and been scarred by the Facebook videos of women giving birth in the car.
Hilary’s birth course tells you exactly when to head to the hospital and how to know when it’s time.
This may have been my biggest fear the third time around because we lived about 45 minutes away from the hospital we were going to deliver at!
#11. My epidural won’t work.
We have all had a friend or two, scare the mess out of us with tales of epidurals failing, not being able to get it time or it only working halfway!
These days most of the time you can get an epidural almost at 10 cm. Although if you have made it that far don’t even bother, it’s more trouble than it’s worth.
If it isn’t working well let the staff at the hospital know and they can have the anesthesiologist adjust it and give you a bigger does of medicine. If that doesn’t work they can put a whole new one in, if they need to.
#12. Let’s talk c-sections.
This is an ending probably none of us want. In fact, it’s everything we are working to avoid. No one wants to go through major surgery if they don’t have to.
So many women are scared of their birth ending in a c-section. Truth is, if there is a true medical emergency and necessity, sometimes it is totally out of our control.
What can we do to prevent c-sections?
Research your care provider. Make sure they are 100% knowledgeable in natural birth and willing to support you. Look up their statistics as well as the hospital you are delivering at. Make sure c sections are not a trend for them.
Overcoming being afraid of giving birth.
- Prepare! A marathon runner would not go into a race without training so don’t go into birth unprepared.
- Enroll in Pulling Curl’s Online Prenatal Course – there are different options and packages to chose from to get exactly what you need!
- As crazy as it sounds, I watched a lot of birth vlogs on Youtube. There are so many moms out there willing to document their journey and take you behind the scenes to see what real labor is like.
- Talk with friends and family that you trust and have or had the same delivery goals and mindset you want for your experience.
- Having a physician that is supportive of your goals and desires for your birth is HUGE! You should be able to talk to them about anything and feel safe, respected and cared for.