giving birth

Fear Of Childbirth Will Ruin Your Pregnancy

By  | 

shutterstock_171529646The one thing I vividly remember about pregnancy is being so, so anxious about impending labor. I felt totally out of control. I am the type of person who struggles with the unknown in daily life anyway, so the huge question looming above my head regarding when, where, and how I would go into labor didn’t help matters at all.

What’s worse is the fact that labor is entirely personal. I hate that. This basically means that your doctor or midwife can’t predict the future and tell you if it is going to go well or not. Every time that I asked a question, it was met with the annoying, diplomatic response: Well, every pregnancy is different.

That did not sit well with a Paranoid Polly like myself. I ended up having two very pleasant birth experiences, at a birthing center and at home. I’m happy with the way things went, and I wouldn’t change anything, except for my uncontrollable anxiety leading up to labor.

If you are anxious about labor as a means to an end, I’m not going to tell you to calm down—because my husband can attest that I hate that shitty advice. I am going to tell you that you’re not alone, and it is perfectly normal to feel butterflies or even gripping fear about a physical feat that you have never experienced.

Up to 20% of pregnant women feel fearful during pregnancy, especially when pregnant with their first baby. 13% of women will put off getting pregnant because of this anxiety and fear. 6% of women consider this fear disabling as it takes over their life.

If your pre-labor fear falls into the disabling category, it’s important to seek professional help. If you’re like many other pregnant women who feel a general anxiety about labor, it is my personal opinion that talking about your concerns can help immensely.

I don’t have a set solution for labor anxiety because I experienced it myself. But I do know that it is worthwhile to do everything in your power to learn about labor, talk with women about their experiences (minus unnecessary horror stories), use relaxation techniques, and make peace with the idea of giving up control. Labor may be the most challenging thing your body ever does, but you will come out on the other side. Don’t let childbirth anxiety ruin your pregnancy.

(Image: Image Point Fr/Shutterstock)