The Consequences of Fear of Giving Birth

The Consequences of Fear of Giving Birth

Last update: 31 August, 2018

Do you know the consequences of fear of giving birth? When it comes time to deliver your baby, fear takes hold of you and hangs on so tightly that it makes facing the process even more difficult than it already is.

How can this be? For weeks you’ve been waiting for the moment when your baby arrives and now… all you feel is fear, fear, and more fear.

Fear is an emotion that we experience when facing a threat, whether real or imagined. Fear warns the body, putting it on alert to lessen the impact of the threat. Fear protects us in many situations by preparing us to run, or at least minimize the impact of the threat.

Fear is a necessary human emotion that is useful for survival. However, during delivery, fear is an emotional response to the many changes that are happening all at once. It is perfectly normal to fear a situation that is so complex, and above all, a situation in which we’re so vulnerable.

But, what happens when this same fear takes over your thoughts and takes control of you? What happens when it’s the result of thousands of disorganized and negative thoughts about what might happen?
The Consequences of Fear of Giving Birth

Fear of giving birth

Fear of giving birth is a normal part of almost every pregnancy, especially first-time pregnancies. Not knowing what will happen, how much it will hurt, or if it will turn out well or poorly all affect a pregnant woman’s mind so much that it can even lead to nightmares.

Naturally, fear of the unknown leads to a series of hypothetical thoughts which, bit by bit, can lead to fear of the future. When we’re afraid, we can have fatalistic thoughts, worry more, and in extreme cases, become completely incapacitated.

Generally speaking, the causes of fear of giving birth are the following:

  • Prior traumatic experiences. If you’ve already given birth, you might remember extreme pain or complications that occurred and believe the same thing will happen again, or worse.
  • Too much information. It’s good to watch and read information about delivery, but you can end up imagining things that are almost traumatic, making you more afraid.
  • Other people’s stories. Every mother you meet will tell you the story of the day she gave birth. This can be a source of horror stories.
  • The moment you give birth. You probably have expectations about how this moment will be. Any deviation from this image can create anxiety and fear.

The consequences of fear of giving birth

Fear triggers a series of mechanisms in the body at the emotional, hormonal, and physical levels. This puts your entire being on alert. What does this mean for delivery? It’s very simple.

  • Fear triggers a release of adrenaline, which likewise controls the release of oxytocin and nueroadrenaline. 
    • Oxtocin is the hormone that controls the delivery process, and nueroadrenaline is responsible for fetal ejection. Normal levels of adrenaline are helpful during delivery, but not a self-induced spike.
  • Fear tenses your muscles. Muscle tension becomes very apparent. The uterine and vaginal muscles should be used for delivery, In other words, they should contract and dilate to help the baby move through the birth canal.
    The Consequences of Fear of Giving Birth
  • Fear causes you to lose focus and become weak. When you reach an extreme pain level, you may stop hearing or understanding what the specialists are telling you to do, whether it is to breathe or push. When you give birth, they will guide you to show you what to do.

What can I do to avoid fear of giving birth?

First of all, you should know that you are very brave. You are brave for having grown a healthy, safe baby up to this point. Now it is time to stay goodbye to that phase.

There is nothing wrong with being afraid, and it is good to be able to express it. Fear builds when we don’t get help in a situation, so ask for help from your loved ones, your midwife, or a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Take note of everything that paralyzes you, those thoughts that make you feel afraid, and analyze them alongside someone who can answer your questions.

While you are giving birth, think about how you and your baby are working together for the same goal, as a team. If something makes you think that things aren’t going well, remember that there is a place where they can help you if there are any complications, and it is right where you are, surrounded by experts.

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.

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