In this guide, we will discuss “How to not be nervous for labor” and a few useful tips and tricks before, during and after childbirth.
How to not be nervous for labor?
If you are wondering ‘How not to be nervous for labor?’ or giving birth here are some recommendations:
- Avoid listening to negative or scary stories from people you may know, from what you may have seen from television or movies. Many friends and known people mean well but their stories can exacerbate your anxiety.
- Ask your doctor all the related questions you may have before and after giving birth. Know exactly the procedure and all the options available to you.
- Know your options related to pain killers (pain plan).
- Have someone to support you throughout this process. You don’t want to be alone and if your partner can’t be there, ask a relative, a friend or someone you trust to be there to support you.
- You are in control, more than you think.
- A new born baby is a responsibility, but it is also a gift. Try not to overthink about how good or bad a parent you will be, just be yourself and know you are allowed to make mistakes.
Being nervous before giving birth is completely normal and if this is your second pregnancy or even the third you may know no pregnancy is the same. As the date gets closer, many moms (experienced ones included) can get a major case of the jitters as the due date draws near.
Anxiety comes with a lot of questions that don’t seem to have an immediate answer for you, increasing the nervousness. According to Colette Bouchez from WebMD they include:
- “What if I don’t get to the hospital on time?”
- “What if my doctor doesn’t make my delivery?”
- “What if the labor pain is more than I can handle?”
- “And what if I … excrete on the labor table?”
Avoid listening to negative or scary stories
We could be influenced by television shows, movies and even people close (or not that close) to us and their birth experiences. Those stories can increase our anxiety as expectant moms. You may have heard how one one of your friends had an awful and painful experience while delivering their child and your neighbor could have had a negative experience with the hospital or medical staff.
Avoid fueling your anxiety and try to read reassuring/calming books as well as informative videos to prepare yourself. It could also be useful if you do some pregnancy yoga exercises or even meditate.
Ask your doctor all the necessary questions
Staying informed about the labor process is one of the best tools to manage labor anxiety. As indicated on babyandcompany.com, “Educate yourself on the anatomy and physiology of your body and the birth process. Confront your fears head on and walk through the entire delivery process with information that isn’t fear- or myth-based. A childbirth class will prepare you for each stage of your labor, so take one!”
Moreover, you could feel more confident and relaxed if you had a detailed birth plan. However, consider the possibility of having to adapt it since it is likely to change. Talk to your doctor about any fears or concerns you may have before, during and after giving birth.
Know your options
One of the biggest fears an expectant mom can have is being in a lot of pain and not knowing how to address it. Ask your doctor about the options for relieving labor pains you may have available when giving birth. However, painkillers and medicine may not be enough. Try practicing breathing techniques, visualization, positive affirmation, calming exercises, etc., before the big day.
Moreover, some other medicine-free ways to handle pain during labor include walking, massage or counterpressure, changing position, taking a bath or shower, listening to calming music, distracting yourself or asking someone else to distract you, etc.
Check this quick guide to the best sage products that will help you deal with anxiety.
Some of the pain medicines include analgesics which may be useful to ease pain but won’t numb it completely. In addition, the most known form of local anesthesia to relieve most of the pain from your entire body below the belly button is epidural.
Have someone to be there with you, to support you throughout this process. It could be your partner, a relative, a friend or simply someone you trust. According to babyandcompany.com:
“Studies have shown that women with continuous labor support show a decrease in the need for painkillers and have more successful, non-traumatic births.”
Discuss any plans you have or labor strategies during delivery. It is important to be on the same page and as ready as you can be for that special moment. Moreover, the team of medical specialists should explain everything to you before and as it is happening.
You are in control (more than you think)
You are in control and more than you think. Yes, mother nature seems to be the boss but you also have a lot of power and what you say matters. As indicated by Midwife and mother of three, Diana Spalding:
“If you are giving birth in a birth center or a hospital, there may be some protocols that the staff follow—but never be afraid to ask for what you want. Sometimes we just get a little busy or set in our ways and we forget to offer other options. That doesn’t mean they are not available to you.”
Just make sure you feel as comfortable as you can be so don’t forget to ask if there is something you believe will make you feel better. Of course there are things that won’t be possible but you’ll be surprised on the many times you may hear ‘sure, no problem. Let me get it for you’.
A new born is a responsibility
True. A newborn is a huge responsibility and you may be even more afraid of parenting than the process of giving birth, it is completely normal. Many parents have been there and none of them actually received a manual when they got to hold their baby for the first time. Forget about being the perfect mama, just know your baby will love you no matter what.
Everyday, with patience and a lot of love you will be learning new things about what it means to be a mom, even more so, if this is your first child. If it is your third, fourth or fifth you may have more experience but every child is different so what may have worked with your previous child may not work with this one. Be patient and take your time to work through all of this.
Why is this blog about How to not be nervous for labor important?
Being nervous for labor is completely normal. You may feel very anxious, overwhelmed, nervous, excited, all at the same time but know you are allowed to feel all these things. To have an unbiased experience giving birth, remember to avoid listening to negative or scary experiences from others, television or movies. Every pregnancy is different and so is every childbirth. Moreover, make sure to stay informed on the process and how you would like to deal with pain (i.e. medication).
Remember, you have more control than you think so ask as many questions as you may have and if you have suggestions or comments on how to make this experience one of the happiest and joyful days of your life make sure to let the medical team know.
Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts about the content of this article!
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about How to not be nervous for labor
How can I overcome my fear of labor?
To overcome your fear try to talk it out and ask as many questions as you may have. Try to identify what scares you the most, for instance, if pain is your biggest fear know in advance what your options are to deal with pain. Break the process down, step by step (i.e. what happens before the birth day). If your partner is not going to be with you, make sure you ask someone you trust to stick with you at all times during the process. This way you will feel supported.
Is it normal to be scared of Labour?
Yes, it is completely normal to be scared for labour and this is extremely common for first time moms. You could be afraid or concerned about what it will feel like, if it will be too painful, what could happen, etc.
How can I relax to go into labor?
If you want to relax to go into labor, take a deep breath inhaling for a few seconds, a big sigh as soon as you feel the contraction coming, focus your attention on the information you are given and slowly exhale through your mouth to allow the air flow get out. In addition, you could try learning some relaxation techniques that could be very useful when going into labor.
What hurts more contractions or pushing?
Most women indicate that labor is more painful than pushing since it tends to last longer. Also, it can get gradually or rapidly more intense as it progresses (involving several muscles, ligaments, organs, nerves, etc.)
Does giving birth feel like period cramps?
Some women have indicated giving birth feels like period cramps, others have described it as severe pressure and others have said it feels like string waves of diarrheal cramps. As you may know, pain is caused by the contractions of the muscles of your uterus and by the pressure on the cervix.
What we recommend for curbing Anxiety
Below are some of the services and products we recommend for anxiety
- Anxiety Weighted Blankets are by far the number 1 thing every person who suffers from anxiety should at least try. Anxiety Blankets may improve your sleep, allow you to fall asleep faster and you can even carry them around when chilling at home.
- Online therapy is another thing we should all try. We highly recommend Online therapy with a provider who not only provides therapy but a complete mental health toolbox to help your wellness.
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- Amber light therapy from Amber lights could increase the melatonin production in your body and help you sleep better at night. An Amber light lamp helps reduce the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep and increases overall sleep quality.
Bouchez, C. (n.d.) Calming Your Labor and Delivery Fears. Retrieved from webmd.com.
Babyandcompany.com: “Stay Calm and Labor On: 5 Secrets to Overcoming Birth Anxiety”