It’s very common for women to feel anxious about labor and birth. But for some women, the fear of labour and birth can be so overwhelming that it overshadows their pregnancy and affects daily functioning. This severe fear of birth is called “Tokophobia” – which literally means a phobia of childbirth.
Following are the labor fears & ways to cope up during childbirth:
Pain: Breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques can help you cope with pain.
Having C-section: Talk with your doctor about your desire to avoid a C-section unless it’s medically necessary. Plan for a normal delivery, but work on accepting that a C-section may be the safer delivery method if complications occur.
Losing Controls: If you tend to be a very controlling person, childbirth is one of those ultimate out-of-control situations. Remind yourself that doctors and nurses have seen and heard just about everything, and nothing you say or do—including screaming or emptying your bowels during labor—will surprise or disgust them.
Tearing: Learn about perineal massage, which can gently stretch the tissue between the vagina and rectum and reduce your risk of tearing. Tearing can sometimes also be avoided with controlled pushing and frequent position changes at the end of the second stage of labor.
Fetal distress/Birth defects: Remind yourself that although some babies have problems during delivery, the majority does not. Also remember that birth defects are rare – more than 97 percent of babies are born healthy. If a baby is in distress, an experienced doctor can take appropriate measures to deliver her quickly and safely.
How to cope up with labor fear?
Relaxation techniques: Learn how to breathe to relax. The more relaxed you are during labor the less it hurts. Focus all the energy you are expending in anxiety and fear on learning these techniques instead and you will be well equipped to handle things. You can learn a very simple breathing technique to minimize the pain of labor and delivery here.
Shutting negative stories: Don’t watch scary TV shows about childbirth, read horror stories or listen to friends recount the gory details of their labors. Some experts believe that fear of delivery has become more widespread since the advent of sensationalized depictions of childbirth.
Water Therapy: Those who have labored in water will tell you that it does much to keep you relaxed and relieve the pain of contractions. If you’d like to try this option for pain relief research hospitals and birthing centers that have birthing pools. The other option is to hire a birthing pool and have a home birth.
Massage: Massage may be a bit of an understatement when it comes to the kind of pressure most women need for relief during labor.
Listen to Music: You can listen to any type of music that will help calm your fears of giving birth and can help you embrace it.
Specialist Obstetrician & Laparoscopic Gynaecologist
Aster Hospital, Mankhool