With all the scary unmedicated birth stories moms are so eager to share with other pregnant mamas, and the overly dramatized birth scenes in movies, it’s not wonder women are terrified to have natural births.
I would know because I was once there. With my first baby, I was a freaked-out ball of nerves during my first natural birth and my body responded accordingly! With my second baby, I took a more positive approach and I had a dreamy experience. That natural birth was simply amazing!
The following tips and this FREE My Fearless Natural Birth 4-activity workbook will help bust your unmedicated birth fears!
As a doula and been-there-done-that mom who is heavily into online ‘mom’ forums, I want you to know that although childbirth is a delicately intricate process, it’s also still quite basic in a way. As long as things are “right” the majority of women who want to have natural births, can have natural births!
So I want to bring you back to the basics of birth by helping you overcome your fears, because it all starts in the mind. If you can get your mind right, chances are you can have that wonderful natural birth you’ve always dreamed of!
5 Tips To Help You Overcome Your Fear Of Having An Unmedicated Birth
#1 Understand that not all “pains” are equal
As a mom and doula I know that when it comes to unmedicated labor, many moms fear not being able to cope with the pain and are super anxious about the entire process in general. They fear the unknown. This is not really surprising considering many of us have been programmed to believe that it’s the worst pain a woman will ever go through. If this is something you are also struggling with, I want you to know and understand that not all “pains” are equal and pain is subjective.
The sensations you will feel during your natural birth are distinct, and not like anything you may experience on any random day, such as stubbing your toe at the corner of your coffee table. Just because one person may express that the pain was so bad they felt like they were dying during their unmedicated birth, does not mean that you will feel the same way, or that you should perceive the pain in the same way. It’s important that you differentiate functional pain from regular pain.
Going back to stubbing your toe, that isn’t something that you do voluntarily. It’s regular pain. It’s something that happens by accident, something you didn’t prepare for, unlike with an unmedicated birth.
If you are reading this, chances are you want to have a natural birth. It’s something that you’ve thought about for some time, have physically prepare your body for, and have consciously determined that it’s the best route for you. So when you think of the discomfort and pain associated to your baby’s birth, you can think of it as pain with purpose; functional pain.
If you think of birth pain as regular pain, not only will you not overcome your fears, but your body will respond as if it’s in danger during labor and that alone will increase physical pain, and can slow down or stop your labor altogether.
I promise you that a simple change in perspective will have a major impact on how you actually deal with labor. My first and second unmedicated births were like night and day. Changing my perspective made a HUGE difference.
Remember you are bringing a life into this world and you are safe (functional pain), you are not injured and in danger (regular pain). It’s hard sometimes to retrain the mind after much of what we see and hear about natural birth is negative and often associated with out-of-this-world pain, but you have to make the conscious effort to make that difference. Doing that is an extremely powerful way to help you overcome your fear of unmedicated birth.
#2 Educated yourself about unmedicated birth
In the world of birth, knowledge is power! Take a prenatal class outside the hospital, read birth books, watch positive natural birth videos on Youtube, and get your mini digital labor pocketbook. Just like you would spend time studying and preparing yourself for a school exam, you should do the same for birth. The more you educate yourself with positive birth content, the more confident and fearless you’ll be during labor. If you don’t have a birth plan, create one! Going over your birth options and thinking about alternatives in case things don’t go according to plan will help you overcome your fears.
#3 Say NO to fear
Saying NO to fear is one of the major keys to a painless natural birth.
Forget all that scary birth stuff you’ve seen and stop googling things like “how painful is natural birth” and “does natural birth feels like breaking bones“.
Nothing good will come from you freaking yourself out over such things. In fact, you’ll just scare yourself even more. In the world of birth, fear is your worst enemy! During labor, it triggers your body to produce cortisol (stress hormone) and adrenaline which will increase physical pain, and can slow down or stop your labor altogether by inhibiting the production of oxytocin (a feel-good hormone).
Make the conscious decision today to stop believing everything that scares you. Instead, choose to believe that you can have a beautiful unmedicated birth. Choose to believe that you can do it!
If you want overcome your unmedicated birth fears, forget all of the negative birth images, information, and anecdotes you may have taken in over the course of your pregnancy, and replace those with things that are more positive.
#4 Surround yourself with the right people
Childbirth is a powerful and complex process that is simple, and yet it’s also sure delicate and it really requires all of you to be present and in the moment. It’s such a delicate process that for many moms it doesn’t take much to be thrown off mentally. All it takes is one person saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.
Imagine yourself going through transitional labor, and you are doing well, using different techniques to help you manage labor naturally and trying your best to remain focused, and then someone casually mentions, “I don’t how she’s doing it, I’d rather have all the drugs”. An unmedicated birth is more mentally challenging than it is physically, so although that statement may appear to be harmless, to a mama that is nearing the peak of her labor it can be really detrimental.
So it’s important that you surround yourself the right people. From your medical birth team to your family, make sure everyone is on board with your birth plan.
#5 Talk it out pray it out
Whether or not you believe in the power of prayer, talking to someone like a doula for example, who is knowledgeable about birth can be a great way of overcoming your fears since it allows you to talk your thoughts out, process them, and get some feedback. If you’re a believer like I am, pray and don’t stop praying. Don’t forget to meditate on His word using your free Scripture birth affirmation cards.
Keep declaring God’s word over yourself, your baby, and your plan to have an unmedicated birth. The more you focus on God, the less time and desire you’ll have to spend worrying and being in fear.