Comfort for the mom who’s anxious about giving birth

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Overcoming Childbirth Fears

I am a worrier. I'll be the first to admit it (well, my husband might be the first to talk about my anxiety, because it drives him nuts!). One of the biggest areas of fear in my life in the past twelve years has been childbirth. My first daughter, born at home, was born in a rather traumatic fashion and I had serious complications after she was born. Anxiety about baby #2 didn't truly kick in, and we had an amazingly peaceful birth. But #3 was fast and furious, and the most intense pain I had ever felt. After that, giving birth was a terrifying specter that haunted my thoughts from the moment I got a positive pregnancy test. I almost feel as if I developed a phobia of birth. It was so bad that when I was pregnant with #4, my midwife suggested that I consider a hospital birth and an epidural (we did end up in the hospital due to growth issues with the baby). 

So what's a mom to do when birth is inevitable, and she's terrified? I can only tell you what helped me, and things that I wish I'd done sooner. 

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1. Talk to someone! I know I can share anything with my husband, but being a guy who doesn't ever have to give birth, I knew it would be difficult for him to understand. So I talked to a good friend, and found out that she had also struggled quite a bit with the same issue. Had I not had a friend to talk to, I think that counseling would have been appropriate. Please don't hesitate to ask for help! Talking things out is a necessary step to a confident birth experience. And please, if you have serious anxiety or depression in pregnancy, seek professional care if you need it!

2. Meditate on scripture. Remembering that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim 1:7), and that we are told to “bring every thought captive” (2 Corinthians 10:5), I prayed for God's help with my fear and anxiety daily. I also printed these scriptures and took them to the hospital with me for comfort during delivery:

Encouragement for the Anxious MomEncouragement for the Anxious mom 2

You can download printable versions here: Download

3. Hypnobabies. Now, this one might weird you out a little. And I have to say that out of 5 deliveries, I tried the entire Hypnobabies program for 3 of my kids, and it did not work for pain relief for me (that's not to say that it won't help you, it just didn't work for me!). BUT a few things I learned in hypnobabies were immensely helpful to me, so I want to share them with you:

First, I took a hypnobirthing class that taught me “Birth Breathing”, which was immensely helpful. If you have a fear of tearing in labor and needing stitches (this happened to me with my first baby, and I was scared of it for every delivery after), feeling equipped with a gentle way to push the baby out is a big help. There are instructional YouTube videos, and I really recommend practicing this before birth. 

Second, Hypnobabies is RELAXING. Their “Fear Clearing Session” was a huge help to me with my past three kiddos, and so was “Visualizing Your Birth.” 

Third, (and the most helpful to me), was the track “Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations.” Hypnobabies explains that practicing negative thoughts is a bad habit, and that we should practice joyful, positive thoughts instead. Makes sense, right? When you have anxiety, especially about a specific event, negative thoughts seem to ambush you at every turn. Listening to “Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations” every day, I began to notice that instead of the negative, self-defeating thoughts I was used to, I began to feel confident and my anxiety dissipated. So much so that on the way to deliver #5, I was chatting with my husband and feeling peaceful, confident, and excited to meet my baby. Those affirmations made a HUGE difference for me! (I also feel compelled to mention that I was facing induction later in the week, so I bought the “Baby Come Out!” hypnobabies track, and my water broke 15 minutes later. I'm pretty sure that this Hypnobabies stuff works!). You can click HERE for my affiliate link for Hypnobabies. 

4. Supplements – there are lots of these that are safe to take while pregnant, and I noticed that taking Magnesium helped me a lot. My very favorite magnesium supplement, which I've taken for years with great results, is
Natural Calm
Natural Vitality Natural Calm
. I also used Bach's Rescue Remedy. I am not a doctor or psychiatrist, and nothing I'm writing here is to be construed as medical advice, so please run any supplements you use by your doctor. 

5. Stay busy and active! I've often noticed that when I exercise, I feel so much better in many ways, including my mental health. Gentle, safe prenatal exercises are great for helping me to stay calm and focused. Staying busy with the kids, work, and homeschool kept me from having too much time to focus on negative thoughts, as well. 

6. Keep negativity away. This is serious. There are people I know that have horrible stories to share. I want to be a good listener, and I'm happy to listen to what they have to say when I'm NOT pregnant. When I am pregnant, I just don't need to hear it. It's part of what I mentioned before – I don't need to be in the habit of practicing negative thoughts, and other people's terrible stories perpetuate negative thoughts for sure. 

A big part of this for me is staying off of social media, particularly Facebook. There will always be scary stories out there, but those stories are not yours. Sadly, often the most we can do for people in those situations is to pray for them. Dwelling on them is not beneficial for them, OR you and your baby. Try to stay positive and focus on positive things to keep your anxiety at bay. 

7. Remember what's coming next – when I'm pregnant, it's so, so easy for me to get caught up in worry and dozens of other crazy thoughts that I forget – even after 5 babies! – the reward at the end. Remember that there is a reason for pregnancy, and a reason for giving birth – you are growing a unique, individual human being! You are having a baby! Keeping that in mind helps us pregnant mamas to keep some good perspective. 

I would love to pray for any moms who are struggling right now. My heart goes out to you if you're struggling with anxiety, but remember – pregnancy (and the anxieties and physical issues that go with it) is temporary. It is such a privilege to carry these little people with us for 9 months, even though it can be difficult. Hang in there! 

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  1. Just got connected with your website through THM. Due with #5 in just a couple of weeks. I’ve always used relaxation techniques, but I’m interested in looking into the Hypnobabies breathing information. You also had some great reminders I needed to hear. Thanks for the post!

  2. Thanks for your post! I miscarried my first and we are due with our rainbow baby March 8th. I have so much anxiety about labor and delivery, fear of losing this baby in the process. Your post has given me some great tips and advice! Thanks!

    1. I’m so sorry, Amanda. I’ve had four miscarriages, and although they were all very early, it was so painful. I’ll be praying for you! I’m so glad this was helpful to you! When I had baby #5 I printed these verses and took them to the hospital with me and read them over and over again. I was really surprised at how peaceful I felt…maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised, but it was an unexpected blessing!

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