Fear of Childbirth

Some women can become intensely fearful of their approaching delivery day, this could be because of what their mothers have been telling them about childbirth and the attitude of mothers surely affects their daughter’s feelings towards delivery.

Usually, its normal to feel a little anxious and apprehensive towards the end of the pregnancy, but intense fear can actually affect labor, women suffering from this kind of fear may actually increase their risk of negative experiences during labor. They are at an increased risk of having an emergency C-section or vaginal delivery involving vacuums or other instruments.

A woman must always remember that her birthing experience has no relationship with her mothers experience and that she does not have to relive her mother’s experience, if her mother had said to her “I almost died when you were born”, it does not mean she will also have that kind of labor. If a woman’s own birth had been difficult it can have an effect on her sub conscious, she should find out more about her own childbirth, and then only will she discover where her actual fear lies. Once she knows where her fear lies, she will be able to tackle and overcome it.

Women should research their birthing options, they must discuss all their concerns with their doctor during pre-natal visits and clarify all the doubts in their minds, they should learn about intravenous sedation and regional anesthesia options. They can find out about epidural which is a low risk procedure and can actually shorten the time of active labor.

It is also useful for them to look into psychosocial support systems, such as attending childbirth classes. It is important for a prospective mother to choose avenues that empowers her rather than making her more afraid. It is important that her doctor recognizes her problem of fearfulness and is sympathetic towards her and is able to be comforting and informative and non-fear promoting.

It has been discovered that women who are relaxed and free of fear were free of pain, during labor. Fear is one of the strongest emotions we know, when we feel fearful, messages are sent to receptors all over the body creating exaggerated reactions. These amplified messages set off biochemical and physiological changes within the body. The body is being prepared for a fight or flight experience and when fight or flight is not appropriate, as with a woman during labor, the hormones like adrenaline and nor adrenaline that are being secreted constrict the uterus and reduce it’s blood supply. In such a situation the body’s natural relaxants known as endorphins and pain killers cannot work effectively because adrenaline and nor adrenaline are present in the body in excessive amounts, so when fear is predominant during labor a woman cannot benefit the effect of natural analgesics.

The problem is that fear has 9 months to build, and we know how this fear can exist. Horror stories from our own mothers and others reinforce this fear. Women who have gone through childbirth do nothing to help expectant mothers, instead they promote the idea that it is the most painful experience and the power of suggestion whether it is true or exaggerated is very powerful and what we expect is so often what we get, fear builds tension and anxiety, tension and anxiety causes pain.


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