How Can I Overcome The Fear Of Giving Birth?

It is extremely common to have a fear of giving birth.

It is extremely common to have a fear of giving birth. When you are pregnant, this fear may be heightened because suddenly it is going to be a reality for you very soon.
Unfortunately, there are too many sources of horror stories and they seem to find their way to you even if you do not want to know about them. The media often depicts labour as a very one-dimensional experience. The woman is very often on her back in a hospital bed with her legs in stirrups and sweat dripping down her face. That is not to say that this is not the reality for a lot of women (and a reality many do not resent) but it is very easy to see why it would instill fear in someone who has never experienced labour before.

You have probably heard that labour is painful. No doctor or midwife will tell you that it is not. However, an incredibly strong emphasis is placed on the pain of the experience. People will scream from the rooftops about how bad their labour was (and they’ll even be kind enough to tell you that they actually have a really high pain threshold usually, so this must be really bad). People love to share their stories because pregnancy connects people.
You can get lost in a very meaningful conversation with someone who you would have otherwise never spoken to and all of this is because pregnancy and motherhood unite you. Many women who have given birth find it very therapeutic to talk about it as there are not many “safe places” to talk about the time you pushed a baby out of your lady bits.
Talking about it in detail is a release and it’s almost like a badge of pride. Women are proud to have birthed and undergone an intense experience to meet their baby. Their intention is never to scare you but it does often plant a seed of fear when someone explains the level of pain, how long it lasted and how many times they thought that they couldn’t handle it.

The fear of giving birth is not just limited to first-time mothers either. Many women associate their last birth as a traumatic experience or a very difficult time in their lives (such as when pregnancy and birth coincided with another loss or tragedy). Overcoming that fear and feeling peaceful and confident about this next pregnancy and birthing experience is absolutely possible. Every single birth is different and this one can be different for you too.

There are some really helpful ways to make peace with the fact that you are going to be giving birth to your own baby. Here are our very best tips to help you do just that.

1. First of all – try not to see it as a punishment or something you must endure. Instead, see it as an exhilarating and positive experience that has the most incredible end result. It will be intense and there may be a pain but the reward is getting to meet your baby. What a gift that is.

2. Be flexible with your birthing plans. Sometimes the biggest fear of all is the fear of things not going exactly as you want them to. Birth can be quite unpredictable but know that no matter what way things pan out you CAN and you WILL do this.

3. In contrast to above,be confident in your birthing plan. There is no guarantee that things will work out exactly as you would love them to but that is not a reason to hold your tongue and simply let things be. Speak to your midwife, your care team and your birthing partner and feel confident in your ability to have the kind of birth that would make you really happy.

4. Talk about your fears. You do not have to pretend that you are OK if you are not. You might be telling yourself that women have been doing this for thousands of years and that you were “born to do this” but that does not mean you cannot feel fearful.

5. Consider a course in hypnobirth or gentle birth. They are becoming increasingly popular and many maternity hospitals offer them too. Many women consider the skills that they learn in these courses to be lifelong skills that they can apply to many other life experiences.

6. Join Facebook pages and follow social media accounts that focus on positive birthing. The more you familiarise yourself with stories of positive experiences of labour the sooner your impression of labour will change too.

7. Start a journal or a blog to document your feelings. Getting it all out can be really therapeutic and can bring about a sense of calm.

8. Speak to your care team if the anxiety is becoming intense. There are services and professionals within the hospital that can help you with this as it is really important to take care of your mental health during pregnancy and beyond.

Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at


Tracey Quinn

Proud mum of two who got married on Don't Tell The Bride and had an accidental home-birth (loves a good story). She's passionate about breastfeeding, positive thinking & all things cosy.

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