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10 Ways to Overcome Labour Anxiety

If you’re experiencing anxiety about your upcoming labour, you’re not alone. In the midst of the excitement of pregnancy many women experience waves of fear and worry about the labour and delivery process.

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve experienced labour or not, labour anxiety is very common in pregnant women. Anxiety and fear can occur as early as the first trimester and usually intensifies as the big day approaches.

The goal is to ensure that any anxiety you may be feeling about your childbirth doesn’t interfere with all the joy and excitement. Here are ten ways you can ease your mind and overcome some of your labour anxiety.

Create a Birth Plan

One of the scariest things about labour is a feeling of being completely out of control of the situation. Fortunately, there is a way to gain some of that control back.

Creating a birth plan can not only help you prepare for your labour and delivery experience, but can also help reduce any anxiety you may be feeling as the day approaches.

When you share your birth plan with your doctor and anyone else who will be involved in the birth of your baby, you will feel secure in the fact that these people understand your wishes and how you expect the birthing process to progress.

Through the process of creating a plan you will think and learn about the details of labour and delivery, preparing you for exactly what may happen and if something unexpected arises how that will be handled as well.

Create a List of “What If? Questions

Labour anxiety can be caused by fear of the unknown. For example, many women wonder “What if my water breaks in public?” or “What if I don’t get to the hospital in time?”

The best way to overcome fear of the unknown is to address it.

Write down a list of all of the “what if ” questions that may be causing you anxiety. Make a list of all of the “what if” questions you have, then write down answers and possible solutions to all of the questions you have on your list.

Common “what if” questions may include:

– What if I can’t handle the pain of labour ?
– What if baby arrives before I reach the hospital ?
– Will I know if I go into labour early ?
– What if I need an emergency cesarean?
– What if my doctor doesn’t make it in time to deliver my baby ?
– What if my spouse doesn’t make it to my delivery ?

This will force you think about your “worst case” scenarios, allowing you to prepare in advance, leaving you and your partner with understanding and increased confidence.

These fears will have less control over your emotions and the anxiety will naturally subside.

Discuss Your Fears with Your Doctor

If you are experiencing deep fears regarding specific aspects of labour, such as the pain you have to deal with or the possible need for medical intervention such as a cesarean, be sure to discuss these fears with your doctor.

Your doctor can offer you information about labour, helping you gain more knowledge of the things that are concerning you.

Knowing your doctor shares your thoughts will go along way in making you feel better.

Anxiety and fear are usually linked to the unknown. When the unknown becomes a topic of familiarity, the anxiety associated with that specific fear usually subsides.

Discussing your fears and anxiety about your upcoming labour and delivery with your doctor can help you overcome the anxiety that you are experiencing. Understanding is key.

Know the Facts and Plan Accordingly

When dealing with anxiety, it is always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the facts and figures and plan accordingly. Without researching the facts, your imagination is bound to carry you away and this won’t do anything to help your anxiety.

Knowing the facts about something that you may be fearful of and being able to plan accordingly can help to significantly alleviate your fears.

For example, many women worry that they won’t make it to the hospital in time and will end up delivering their newborn on the seat of a car.

The truth is that most women are in labour anywhere between six and eight hours before the baby is born.

This means you will likely have more than enough time to get to the hospital.

To help overcome such a fear, you should have a plan for how you will get to the hospital, both during the day and at night, and pack a hospital bag a few weeks prior to your due date.

Knowing exactly how you will be getting to the hospital and having everything packed and ready to go will make you feel as thou  gh you have more control over the situation and your anxiety will likely subside.

All other fears can be addressed in the same manner. Research the facts regarding your fears and put yourself in control of the situation whenever possible.

Talk with Friends

If you have friends who have experienced childbirth, they can be a great resource for alleviating any stress or anxiety that you may be feeling about your upcoming labour and delivery.

Getting your feelings out in the open is much healthier than bottling them up inside.

Talking about your fears is a great way to manage them. When you bottle up your fears, they can seem much bigger than they really are.

The simple act of talking with family and friends can ease your anxieties.

Friends who have experienced childbirth can be a great help in this regard. Not only will you be able to openly discuss your fears with them, but chances are that at least one of your friends has experienced the same worries and concerns that you’re having.

You can find out what their labor was actually like. While you can’t count on having the exact same labor and delivery experience that your friends have had, it does help to hear about the experiences of other women who you trust.

Do not listen to any horror stories as these although they may be true are not the typical scenarios most pregnant women face.

Talk with Your Spouse

Just as talking with your friends can be therapeutic, expressing your concerns to your partner can also be beneficial when dealing with labor-related anxiety.

You may, in fact, be surprised to know that your spouse has some anxiety of their own regarding the upcoming birth of your bundle of joy.

When you discuss your concerns with your spouse, not only do you have someone to turn to, but you and your partner will have an understanding on how the birth plan will be fulfilled.

It is a great comfort to know someone will be there that knows what you want to happen during labour and delivery.

Your partner may be the one to take charge for you. This alone will help eliminate anxiety.

Visit Online Forums

Online communities, like the one at PregnacnyChat can be a great place to meet people who are experiencing the same labor-related concerns that you are.

While your doctor will address many of your concerns it helps to talk to others who are going through the same thing you are and at just the same time.

Discussing your fears in an anonymous forum can be very therapeutic and can help you build new online relationships with women who are expecting to deliver around the same time that you are.

Even if you don’t post in these forums, just reading about the concerns and experiences of other pregnant women can help alleviate some of your own fears.

Please visit the forums at PregnancyChat to find out more.

Don’t Overlook the Benefits of a Midwife

Many women assume that midwives are reserved for those who are choosing to deliver their babies at home.

This is not necessarily the case. Midwives can also assist you through your labor if you are delivering in a hospital.

A midwife provides a more personalized approach. Most doctors will not stay with you throughout your labor.

A midwife often will. Knowing that there will be an experienced professional there for you from the beginning of your labor until the delivery of your child can help alleviate some of the anxiety that you may be feeling regarding the labor and delivery process.

When choosing a midwife, make sure you ask about the level of care provided. Will the midwife be with you throughout the labor and delivery process?

What prenatal services are offered? When you choose a midwife, make sure you discuss all of your concerns with them.

Your midwife can be a great source of information and can help you resolve any specific concerns you may be having.

If you choose a Doula this person’s main responsibility is simply to be there for you, your partner and your baby.

Some families choose to have both a Midwife and a Doula but it will be up to you to have one or both.

Utilize Relaxation Techniques

When it comes to managing fear and anxiety, relaxation techniques can be a blessing. Sometimes, no matter how well you are able to rationalize a fear or research a concern, that overwhelming feeling of anxiety will not subside. At times like these, a nice warm cup of tea just isn’t enough to calm your nerves.

If you are facing actual anxiety attacks due to your labor-related concerns, use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, being fully present and meditation all can help.

The body and mind work together, and relaxing your body will help to relax your mind.

You may want to consider taking a class or two on meditation and / or breathing techniques to help keep anxiety at bay during your pregnancy and this will definitely help you during labour.

Keep a Pregnancy Journal

When it comes to anxiety and fear, we can (at times) be our own worst enemies.

If you are facing a fear that you don’t feel comfortable discussing with your spouse, friend, or doctor (such as the fear of having a bowel movement during the delivery process), write down your feelings about the issue in your pregnancy journal.

Journals can be very useful tools during pregnancy and they are a great way to help manage your fears.

If you can’t discuss your fears out in the open with another person, writing your fears down and sorting the issues out in your journal is another option. This will help you face your fears.

Once you write down what is bothering you, research what steps you can take to be in better control of the situation or to understand and accept that it is what it is and all part of the birthing process.

For example, if you are indeed worried about having a bowel movement during the labor and delivery process, research it.

Did you know that pooping on the delivery table is a good indication that there will be a successful vaginal delivery and that a cesarean section won’t be necessary and more importantly baby is on his way.

Write down your concerns, this will give you a feeling of being more in control and will help reduce the anxiety you are experiencing.

Here is one more bonus tip for you: Know You’re Not Alone

Whether you’ve never given birth before or whether this is your third, fourth, or even fifth time being pregnant, chances are that you will experience at least some anxiety as your due date approaches.

It is very common for women to experience labor-related anxiety, even if they have been through the experience before. All pregnancies are different.

Fortunately, there are measures you can take to reduce the amount of anxiety you experience. Many women have been able to address their concerns and alleviate their labor-related anxiety using all of the above methods and tools.

Here’s to having little miracles.

I hope you enjoyed my tips and if you have any of your own, please share them in the comments below. For more fun information about your pregnancy and childbirth please subscribe and visit us at

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