Fear of Childbirth: How to Face Your Anxiety

Fear of Childbirth: How to Face Your Anxiety

Last update: 30 April, 2018

Fear of childbirth is very common. In fact, almost all pregnant women are fearful to some extent. 

As for first-time mothers, that fear is magnified by lack of experience. When you’re facing this incredible experience for the first time, it’s easy to let your head fill with thoughts that only feed your anxiety.

Your due date is quickly approaching. You’ve been fearing the act of childbirth during your entire pregnancy, but now it’s more real, more intense.

But stay calm, we know what it’s like and we want to help you prepare for this special moment.

Why am I so scared of giving birth?

It seems like a contradiction – we so desire the arrival of our baby, yet at the same time, we fear that moment as well. 

But there are plenty of reasons behind this irony. Here are a few specific fears that many expecting mothers tend to experience:

  • Fear of the pain. It’s an undeniable fact. Childbirth hurts. It hurts a lot. When your child is ready to come out, your body will undergo heroic changes to aid in your baby’s birth. And those changes hurt.
  • Fear of the unknown. Not knowing what to do, what’s going to happen, what steps to follow… all of this produces uncertainty and, therefore, fear.
Fear of Childbirth: How to Face Your Anxiety
  • Fear of complications. Without a doubt, you’ve asked yourself if something could go wrong. The thought that things might not go according to plan, or that they might take longer than expected, is scary.
  • Fear of something happening to the baby. This is something we fear from the moment we find out we’re expecting. But as our due date nears, that fear grows. The thought of something happening to your baby can literally keep you awake all night.
  • Fear that something could happen to you. And if something happens to me? What will happen to my baby? Our bodies are biologically prepared for childbirth, but nobody can guarantee that things will go as planned. Childbirth is an incredibly marvellous and complex act, but we can’t deny that sometimes there is danger involved.
  • Fear of not knowing what to do with your baby. Carrying your baby in your womb is relatively easy. It really doesn’t require much training. But once your baby is outside of your body, you might wonder if you’ll be able to tend to him correctly.

How to face your fear of childbirth

Things you should not do:

I’ve heard stories of mothers who had really bad experiences – I’m sure that’s how it’s going to be fore me, too.”   If you were to believe everything you’re told, you wouldn’t be able to do anything. Your personal experience is exclusively and uniquely yours.

“And what if…” Those “what ifs” are a way to wear ourselves out over things that haven’t even happened, and probably won’t happen. And even if they do, worrying ahead of time is to no avail. Uncertainty produces fear.

I don’t think I can take the pain.” This is a pain you’ve never experienced before. Assuming ahead of time that you won’t be able to handle it will only feed your fear. And this is something you’ll inevitably have to face.

“I won’t be a good enough mother.” No mother is perfect – but being a good mother has a lot more to do with instinct than you think. Doubting your abilities will only increase your insecurities and, of course, your fear.

Fear of Childbirth: How to Face Your Anxiety

Things you should do:

Attend prenatal classes. The class instructors will explain what’s going to happen, step by step. You’ll be able to ask all the questions you need and get the best advice to make things easier on you and your baby.

B e honest about your fears. Talking openly about your worries will bring down your anxiety levels. It will also give those around you the opportunity to give you the support you need.

The best people to turn to are your partner, friends, and anyone else who has experienced childbirth.

Get everything ready for your baby’s arrival. Rather than focusing on the unknown or whatever specific fears you may have, think about all the beautiful moments to come.

Enjoy imagining how your life will change for the better with the arrival of your son or daughter.

Furthermore, remember that medical professionals will be with you every step of the way to help you and your baby.

At no time during labor and delivery will you be alone. There will be specialists to guide and assist you, and you’ll know just what to do to bring your child into the world.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Hofberg K, Brockington I. Tocophobia: an unreasoning dread of childbirth. A series of 26 cases. Br J Psychiatry 2000; 176: 83–5.
  • Roland-Price, A; Chamberlain, Z. Managment of tocophobic women. Preconceptional Medicine. [Online].
  • Sánchez, E. (2019). Quiero ser madre, pero tengo miedo. La mente es maravillosa. [En línea].

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.