5. Share your fears
Don’t hesitate to tell your doctor or midwife that you’re afraid; just talking about it may help, and she may have ideas about how to reduce your anxiety. Sometimes just learning the facts—how often delivery complications actually occur, for example—can put your mind at ease. If your caregiver doesn’t seem to listen or lacks compassion, consider finding a new one.
6. Put your fears in writing
Create a one-page birth plan that includes your desires about such options as pain medication, laboring positions and fetal monitoring as well as an honest explanation of your fears. Share it with your caregiver during a prenatal visit and have a copy ready to give to the nurses when you’re admitted to the hospital. Knowing that your caregivers are aware of your concerns will help reassure you.
7. Have a midwife or doula
Midwives and doulas spend more time with women during prenatal visits and labor than OBs do, and their presence and insights can help you cope with your fears. “Your doula or midwife understands you and will stay with you during labor,” says Marshall, Va.-based former doula Bonnie B. Matheson, founder of Childbirth Solutions LLC.
8. Shut out negative stories
Don’t watch scary TV shows about childbirth, read horror stories or listen to friends recount the gory details of their labors. Some experts believe that fear of delivery has become more widespread since the advent of sensationalized depictions of childbirth.
9. Learn about pain relief
Most women fear the pain of childbirth to some degree, but knowing that safe and effective means of relief are available can help lessen your anxiety. Take a childbirth course, talk with your caregiver beforehand about medication and other pain-relief methods and include your intentions in your birth plan.
10. Explore your options
Some women fear the typical hospital childbirth experience. Choosing alternatives, such as having your baby in a homelike birthing center that permits women to deliver in different positions and have more control over their experience and environment, can often allay such fears.
For more articles on having the most enjoyable delivery possible, go to fitpregnancy/labor.