Is It Normal to Be Scared of Labor and Delivery?

Medically Reviewed on 3/28/2022
Is It Normal to Be Scared of Labor and Delivery
Childbirth is life-changing, and it is perfectly normal to be a little scared of labor and delivery or to feel overwhelmed about the process

Childbirth is life-changing, and it is perfectly normal to be a little scared of labor and delivery or to feel overwhelmed about the process.

If you are nervous about giving birth, you aren’t alone. Studies suggest that at least 50% of women experience fear about labor and delivery at some point during pregnancy.

How do I overcome my fear of giving birth?

Knowing what to expect during labor and being prepared can make you feel more at ease. Here are a few tips that can help you overcome your fear of labor and delivery:

Get information from reliable sources

Reading or listening to horror stories from other mothers who have had difficult deliveries or childbirth complications can make you feel even more overwhelmed. Seek information from reliable, reputable sources, and make sure to discuss your delivery options with your doctor.

Familiarize yourself with the hospital and staff

Visit the hospital where you have decided to have your delivery. Find out the qualifications of the staff that will be handling your delivery. Tour the ward or room where you will be admitted.

Consider taking childbirth classes

Childbirth classes can help you understand the challenges of childbirth and learn ways to deal with them. Research suggests that people who attend childbirth classes are less likely to have stress during labor than those who did not. Here are reasons why childbirth classes can be beneficial:

  • You will learn about what is involved in giving birth to a child.
  • Many of your concerns may be addressed in class, and myths will be cleared up with the help of certified childbirth educators.
  • Class sessions allow you to connect with your partner and help your partner understand how to support you during the delivery of your child.
  • You will learn how to cope with painful contractions during childbirth with relaxation techniques, visualization techniques, and knowledge about pain treatments (such as an epidural block) administered during delivery.
  • You will learn about different delivery methods and any possible complications involved.
  • You will brush up your knowledge of newborn care such as breastfeeding, diapering, and bathing.

Discuss your concerns with your doctor

Fear is often rooted in ignorance. If you have questions regarding labor and delivery, ask your doctor about them.

For example, you may want to know about available pain medications, how they work, and whether they have any side effects. You may be prescribed one or more of the following during childbirth:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • Tranquilizers
  • Epidural anesthesia (medicine shot administered in the lower back to numb the pelvis and block pain)

If you want to avoid using drugs during labor and delivery, make sure you let your doctor know. They can recommend pain management options that include:

  • Walking
  • Yoga
  • Hypnosis
  • Meditation
  • Massage or counterpressure
  • Bathing
  • Music therapy

Stay active with safe pregnancy exercises

Pregnancy-approved exercises and yoga can help strengthen the muscles involved in the delivery process and increase the endurance required during labor. Ask your doctor about which exercises are safe to perform during pregnancy.

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Medically Reviewed on 3/28/2022
Image Source: iStock Images

Horsager-Boehrer R. Coping with fear of childbirth. The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Cleveland Clinic. Labor without Medication: Coping Skills.

Mayo Clinic. Childbirth classes: Get ready for labor and delivery.