Nervous about Birth, Tips for New Mom

I’m having my first child this year, and I’m feeling nervous about giving birth. For a while, I didn’t think I would ever become pregnant because I am very squeamish. I have fainted during routine checkups (like shots or TB tests) and have never not fainted during a blood draw :joy: I become nauseous and dizzy at the thought of it. Pregnancy has toughened me up a bit because I knew all these doctor visits were necessary, but I haven’t found much peace about childbirth. I can feel myself growing more worried about the pain of birth each day, and I don’t want to dread it because I am so excited for her to come into the world.

Do you parents have any resources for a new mom who fears the pain of childbirth? [name_u]Or[/name_u] any words of advice? I’m not exactly sure what I’m asking for here, but I think hearing from some other people would be helpful :slight_smile: Thank you.

Check out Fearfree Childbirth. [name_f]Alexia[/name_f] has tons of modes of engagement (podcast, Facebook group, paid membership with benefits, a book) so whatever your style of learning and relating to the material, there is a way forward for you.

ETA that it is tokophobia, it is real, it is the whole reason Alexia started Fearfree childbirth.

The important part is letting go of/moving through/clearing out these fears BEFORE birth. If they are hanging around and you haven’t made some peace with them, things will be harder for everyone. Your body will hang onto the fear and it will make things slower and harder, which in a medicalized environment also means that things will escalate (waiting it out is not the name of the hospital game).

Spend the time to work through your feelings. It will be so worthwhile. And it doable.

First time mom myself (due in [name_f]April[/name_f]!) so I don’t have any personal experience to share, but I’m going through the Birth It Up course taught by [name_f]Liesel[/name_f] Teen, a labor and delivery nurse. She goes by Mommy Labor Nurse on social media. It was only $35 and I found it really practical and reassuring. She talks through a lot of different scenarios and epidural vs no epidural. She also has a Facebook group where people share their birth stories. [name_m]Reading[/name_m] through those helps me too.

I don’t think I have the same level of anxiety that you’re describing but I have so little experience with hospitals/doctors that it makes me nervous. We can do this! :slight_smile:

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I can’t speak from personal experience (yet) but I’ve talked to soooo many moms about this.

One thing to remember, everything you’re going through, in childbirth, won’t be in the same state-of-mind as your every day life. Childbirth triggers the release of sooo many chemicals in your brain - Most notably oxytocin and adrenalin. This will act as fuel to get you through things that you wouldn’t normally be able to handle (in the case of women who are squeamish, low pain tolerance, etc).

My friend said she watched a ton of childbirth videos (on YouTube maybe, but not sure how that’s allowed). She prepared herself for the worst possible pain. Then when it was actually happening, the pain didn’t seem so bad, because she had imagined worse. Growing up, her dad had done this kind of reverse psychology on her… Instead of telling her a shot wouldn’t hurt and she’d be ok, he’d tell her it was going to hurt a lot. Which terrified her. Then she got the shot and it hurt, but not as bad as she thought it would (she acknowledges that this was kinda a traumatizing tactic, but it did end up working for her).

Hope this helps! You got this!!

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I’m expecting my fourth baby and something I’ve noticed is that in the early stages of pregnancy I’m nervous. [name_m]Even[/name_m] after having gone through it, I’m nervous. But as the pregnancy progresses and I struggle through those final weeks, I’m always more than ready to meet my baby, to not be pregnant anymore, and there’s this shift and acceptance in my thinking. I WANT to go into labor at that point. I WANT all of the [name_u]Braxton[/name_u] Hicks and false alarms and pains and pressure to be the start of something. And when the contractions begin, I always welcome them, because they’re the beginning of the end.

This continues throughout the labor: I want the contractions to be stronger and closer together. I want my water to break. It gets harder during transition, but I’ve found a part of you that is so primal just kicks in and sweeps you through it: there’s an adrenaline I’ve never experienced otherwise that forces you to ride one contraction into another and that’s all you need to focus on and all you need to remember is that every contraction counts, even if it’s hard, even if it’s painful, because by then you’re almost done. And you WANT to be done, so you WANT to push by that point. I’ve also found this shift in accepting that you’ll do whatever is needed to bring baby safely into the world, whether that’s pain management or a needed c-section, whatever it takes, because baby’s safety is all you’ll care about. You’ll have come so far already, that by the time you’re ready to push, you’ll want to and it will feel good to release that pressure and push. And then you’ll meet your baby. They’ll put them on your chest and the worst of the pain will be over.

I hope that makes sense and you find some comfort in this. It is hard, it is painful, but there is a part of you that you’ve never experienced before waiting to pull you through it. With each birth I’ve been amazed after that “I did that?!” Prepare yourself as best as you can, know the stages of labor, know your options for pain management and possible interventions that might arise, but also know that you can handle this. Congratulations and good job on making it through the appointments and testing so far–you did all of that for your baby and labor is just more of that, only at the end your reward is in your arms and you get to meet them. Best day ever!

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I highly recommend a birthing class! It helped put a lot of our worries at ease. Check with your hospital provider to see if there are any classes being offered – they might be virtual due to COVID but that would still be helpful! I honestly believe knowledge is power when it comes to getting through childbirth fears.

Also agree about reading up before hand. There are lots of books out there that can help you feel prepared. I read “[name_m]Mayo[/name_m] Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy: From Doctors Who Are Parents, Too!” and it had lots of great pregnancy info as well as prepping for childbirth. DH read “Heading Home With Your Newborn (From Birth to Reality)”, and said it helped him feel really prepared as well.

I used to be WAY squeamish and worried about childbirth too. I spent time talking to a wonderful lady in my life who had natural births and hearing her talk about the experience was actually really helpful. I read several blog posts and articles about natural birth, and even though I did end up having an epidural I think those articles were still super helpful.

One last thing I’ll add is that I had a really long, intense labor (DD came out sunny-side up, which is not ideal), but without the prepping and support from DH I know it would have been so much harder. I’m trying for a second, so it didn’t scar me for life :wink:

I would definitely recommend a birthing class, for me knowing what to expect really helped. And I agree with @LiliMorgana by the 3rd trimester I’m looking forward to the birth and just having my baby in my arms.
Also something that may be a little silly but really helped me with my first labor was watching birth vlogs from you tubers and people like that. I really like to see what other people went through and what their experience was like. However if that just increases your anxiety don’t do it!

Bridget [name_m]Teyler[/name_m] on YouTube has some really helpful videos about childbirth! She does a really good job of preparing you and guiding you through each phase of labor! I would also recommend looking into hypnobirthing. I don’t know much about it personally, but I hear it’s been really helpful for other people!

(This is coming from a teenager btw. [name_f]Hope[/name_f] that’s not too weird. I do a lot of research on the birthing process.)

I followed @gentlebirth on Instagram and bought their app. They do a free 7 day trial for you to see if it’s something you’d like. It’s a mix of meditation and hypnobirthing without the “hippiness” and stupid “you’ll feel no pain” claims some hardcore hypnobirthing programmes claim. It really helped ground me during pregnancy and helped me to have confidence in my own body.

I second following [name_f]Liesel[/name_f] Teen on insta. I did that as well.

Watch as many broth videos as you can- hospital/ instrumental/c section/medicated/non medicated/birth centre/ Homebirth. This will help you get an idea of which setting you think you’d be most comfortable in. I opted for waterbirth at home and had my first baby at home in november. It was wonderful- a really enjoyable experience and I can’t wait to do it again!

I have a phobia of medical settings which was the driving factor behind having baby at home and I also was very clear with my midwife about things such as minimal blood draws, no Glucose test, no cervical checks, no touching. Knowing that she supported my goals around this allowed me to complete relax and feel comfortable and not rushed etc.

Create a comprehensive birth plan not just for your “plan A” but for plans B, C, D & E as well! Basically think of as many different scenarios as you can (spotaneous labour, induction, non medicated, medicated, elective C section & emergency c Section) and write a bullet point list of what you would like in each scenario and any hard NO’s. By doing your research you’ll begin to feel really well informed and I find for myself that helps remove fear when you understand the process.

I didn’t personally have a doula but if you can afford one/ insurance covers it if you’re in the US I’ve heard people swear by that as well.

Spinning babies is another great one to follow. As is @mamastefit- both on insta.

Hope some of this helps

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Had a csection myself. Birth the old fashioned way wasn’t working. I will say, spinal blocks are miraculous. Fentanyl / Dilauded combo worked very well. Felt no pain or discomfort, was present and clear minded for the whole birth, enjoyed those special moments (the surgical team, my husband, and I had some memorable laughs, too), and then I slept really, reeeaaally well. Recovery was a breeze. I can’t believe I was nervous [read near panic attacks] about the possibility of a csection… My experience was so positive, if I could do it all over again, Id elect to just do that from the get-go. (Having another baby soon, we’re planning to go straight to csection)

I echo the doula recommendation. Ones with backgrounds /former careers in psychology are an absolute miracle.

PS I tried several sessions of hypnobirthing, and it was just so divorced from medical reality… It ended up just making me feel like ppl were trying to trick/lie to me, I felt more anxious, and not at all reassured. I wanted solid, professional doctors with experience and expertise who would be calm, kind, reassuring, and explain things to me. I wanted a doula who would be my advocate and help remind me as much as I needed that I was in control, and that she had my back. I did NOT want my birth plan to be filled with floral euphamisms for my own anatomy, metaphors about oceans, or rely upon my ability to visualize cutting a lemon and biting into it. My doula was shocked that someone had recommended hypnobirthing to me given the amt of anxiety that I had surrounding birth at the time. I think hypnobirthing might be for folks who lean super zen, hippy, alternative path vibes and feel centered and calm already and want to stay in that positive mindset --vs folks who feel a lot of anxiety already and want reassurance, plans, contingency plans, and at least the verasimilitude of control, heh.

I say skip the hypnobirthing and go straight to interviewing doulas. Interview several. Pick the one you click with. You’ll feel that spark. Its the feeling you get when you get the sense that someone just gets you (understands you as a person).

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I just wanted to chime in and say if the fear of pain is causing you anxiety there is absolutely no shame in opting for an epidural from early stages of active labour. You don’t need to feel the pain anymore.

I’m due in a few weeks with my second, I have a heart condition so its strongly recommended I have epidural (which I did last time and will again). It was great! I had a nap after it took effect.

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My first child is 8 months so I only have the experience of one birth but for me it was a totally different pain then being cut and bleeding (I do faint from that) and because I imagined it was going to be terrible I was surprised how easy it was…I really believe that your body takes over- it knows what needs to happen! That said I did have a ‘textbook’ first time mom birth: long sporadic early labor for 24 hours and then about 5 hours of active labor and 1 hour pushing… pushing was the hardest for me and it was only an hour
I watched a set of prenatal classes by [name_f]Holliday[/name_f] [name_u]Tyson[/name_u] on youtube and loved them plus read Childbirth the [name_u]Bradley[/name_u] way, [name_f]Ina[/name_f] [name_f]May[/name_f]’s guide to childbirth.
As far as watching birth videos, do it if it makes you feel better …it gave me anxiety watching these ladies screaming and acting like they were going to die🤭

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I second the [name_f]Holliday[/name_f] [name_u]Tyson[/name_u] videos I watched those too! They were very helpful for me!

I HIGHLY recommend considering Hypnobirthing. Especially if all things needles make you squeamish and faint - natural birthing may be for you.

All of my babies have been hypnobabies (think 6 births!) and the natural process is incredibly empowering. I highly recommend it, as well as hiring a doula who can be supportive during the process.