The lead up to giving birth can be an emotional whirlwind – you’re flying high on hormones and about to go through a crazy new experience with no idea what to expect, so of course it is normal to feel anxious.
Luckily there are things you can do to soothe those worries. I strongly believe that knowledge is power. Learning about the physiology of birth can help take away the power of the unknown and make it easier to make sense of the sensations you’re feeling during labour.
- Accept that it is totally normal to feel anxious about doing something you’ve never done before! New experiences make lots of people nervous so you are not abnormal for feeling this way. Whilst the unknown can feel scary remember that your body knows exactly what it is doing ~ it was built to birth your baby.
- Educate yourself about birth. Learn about what’s happening in your body when you’re in labour and learn some coping techniques so that you feel prepared. Read some books, take a hypnobirthing course and chat to people about their positive birth experiences.
- Think about your birth preferences. Yes, birth is unpredictable and in many ways out of your control, but being prepared and knowing what your options are can help you to have a positive experience. Even if things don’t go exactly as you imagined there will be choices you can make to help prioritise the things that matter most to you.
- Prioritise relaxation during your pregnancy. You can’t be anxious and calm at the same time, so do things to help activate the parasympathetic nervous system ~ walk in nature, do a guided meditation, have a long bath, treat yourself to a pregnancy massage or reflexology. During labour you’ll want to be relaxed to get the important birth hormones flowing so start practicing now.
- Notice your anxious thoughts without getting too attached to them – just because you’ve thought something doesn’t make it real. Distance yourself by saying outloud “I’m noticing I’m having the thought that….”. If it helps, chat to your friend/partner/midwife about the worries you are having so they can provide some reassurance.
If you’re looking for support with pregnancy reflexology or hypnobirthing to help ease your anxiety please get in touch via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I offer reflexology treatments in East Dulwich, Herne Hill, Camberwell and the surround areas and I run hypnobirthing courses online.