pregnant woman afraid of giving birth

What Can I Do If I’m Afraid of Giving Birth?

It is very common to be fearful about giving birth, especially if it’s your first time. 

Coping with your fear begins with educating yourself about labor and birth so you have a general idea of what to expect.

Continue reading to learn more about labor and birth and to gather practical tips for preparing for delivery. 

What to Expect During Labor and Birth

Labor

Labor is the term used to describe what happens before the baby’s birth.  During labor, your uterus contracts, which causes your cervix to efface (thin) and dilate (open) until it is 100% effaced and 10 cm dilated.   

Labor can be described in stages: early labor and active labor. Early labor begins at the start of regular contractions until your cervix is 5 cm dilated, which can take hours to days. 

Active labor begins at 6 cm and lasts until you are completely dilated, and this stage is typically much quicker than early labor. 

While learning more about labor can be helpful, it is important to remember that every woman’s body is different. Your labor could be longer or shorter than average, but that doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you or your baby. 

Birth

After your cervix is completely dilated, it will be time to begin pushing. The doctor and nurses will instruct you to bear down. The baby will slowly move through the birth canal with each push until it makes its way through your vagina. 

While the pushing stage for some women can be short, many first-time mothers may push for a couple of hours. 

Coping With Pain

Feeling pain is often one of women’s biggest fears when preparing for childbirth. When contractions begin, they may feel like period cramps, but they can get more intense as time goes on. 

The good news is different medications can help ease the pain. Pain relief treatments include intravenous (IV) pain medication or an epidural, all of which can be used during the birth process.  

Preparation

During your pregnancy, many women find it helpful to attend birth classes to learn more about what to expect and different ways to cope with pain during birth. This also might be an opportunity to meet other pregnant women facing the same fears. 

Additionally, building a trusting relationship with your OB/GYN or midwife can often help ease anxiety surrounding birth. 

During your pregnancy, it is important to discuss your fears and preferences with your provider so they can answer questions and help you put together a birth plan that highlights your preferences.

Another way to prepare for labor and birth is to choose who will support you. Whether it’s your partner, a family member, or a close friend–knowing that you won’t be alone can be very comforting.     

We’re Here to Help

Chester County Connect Care is here to support you every step of the way during your pregnancy. 

We can help you learn more about your pregnancy and connect you with a trusted provider.

Additionally, we offer free pregnancy education and many other resources to assist you as you prepare for your birth. 

Book today and pick a time and location for your free and confidential appointment.

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