Easing anxiety about childbirth
It’s perfectly normal to feel anxious about childbirth. There are some strategies you can try for a less stressful labour.
For first-time mums, childbirth is a great unknown. Stories abound of difficulties during labour and childbirth, and it’s common for women to dwell on these stories as their due date approaches – becoming more anxious by the day.
One of the best ways you can reduce your anxiety in the lead-up to labour is to arm yourself with knowledge. This can include everything from talking to your doctor, attending a childbirth or antenatal class, watching documentaries, reading books and talking to friends. Talking to family members like mother, mother in law or sisters is also very helpful as well as getting full support from your partner. Often, simply knowing what to expect can make the whole process less scary.
Always remember, there’s no such thing as a silly question.
Top tips for easing anxiety
Talk about any fears or anxieties with your primary care provider, friends and family. And ask lots of questions about the process – no question is too big or small.
Ask friends of all ages who’ve had babies what worked for them and what advice they have for you. Read books by experts whose values align with yours.
Attend antenatal classes
By surrounding yourself with other new mums in the same boat as you, it soon becomes clear how normal all these strange feelings are.
Put yourself first
Recurring stress often occurs because we neglect the essentials. Take the time to get enough sleep, eat well and fit in some physical activity. A walk around the park with a close friend is a wonderful way to de-stress.
Try forms of relaxation therapy
Yoga, meditation, massage, deep breathing or stretching are great activities to calm the mind. Make a point of taking a little time (even if it’s just 10 minutes) to do something relaxing – or to put your feet up and do nothing at all.
Examine your social circle
Families and communities have a funny way of both enhancing and undermining your own experiences. Make sure you are surrounding yourself with people who offer you love and support.