Why Learning Not to Fear Labor & Childbirth Is BeneficialKatlyn Joy |12, January 2014
There is nothing to fear but fear itself. And that may be particularly true when it comes to giving birth. According to a new study out of Finland that involved 500,000 pregnant women, women who have a fear of childbirth are three times as likely to suffer from postpartum depression. Moreover, these are all women who did not have a previous history of depression.
It's believed up to 1 in 7 women become depressed in the first three months following birth. This is not the "baby blues," which is most common and involves tearfulness, moodiness, and irritability in the first few weeks after having a baby. Baby blues is a result of the big hormone shift that occurs immediately after childbirth and resolves on its own nearly as quickly as it occurs.
The new study may help doctors predict what women are most at risk for developing postpartum depression. By identifying women who express fear of childbirth, doctors can intervene more effectively and if not prevent postpartum depression, at least more quickly and completely treat women with the serious condition.
10 Ways to Get Over Your Fear of Birth
1. Become honest with those close to you, including your partner.
You should never suffer your fears in silence. That only makes them have more power of you. By sharing this secret, you can begin to break the hold.
2. Let your doctor know that you are afraid, and what you specifically fear, if you can name a specific thing.
This can help to let your doctor know where you are emotionally about the birth, and also your physician may be able to quell your fears with some basic facts about the things you are afraid of.
3. Take childbirth classes.
Knowledge is power; learn all you can about what to expect in childbirth. Choose a class that fits your comfort level and make sure you have a birth partner to attend with you for support. Find out in advance what kind of information will be given and how. If you are especially sensitive and fearful to the point of being phobic, a class showing graphic images may be the wrong choice for you. Talk to the instructor ahead of time about what you are looking for in a childbirth class to ensure it's right for you.
4. Read books about preparing for childbirth.
Most women find that the better prepared, the more confident they are going into the final weeks of pregnancy. If you know that for instance, it's not uncommon to panic in the transition phase of labor, you will recognize when it is happening and realize it's bound to be the shortest part of giving birth.
5. Develop an attitude of "I can!"
Eliminate negative thought patterns. If you feel yourself having thoughts such as, "I will freak out!" or "I can't do this!" reverse them immediately with positive affirmations. "Yes, I will be fine. Women do it every day and so will I. It's just one day, and I can handle this. I will have my beautiful baby in my arms within hours of the start of labor. I can do this!"
6. Practice relaxation techniques.
Yoga and deep breathing are excellent ways to handle stress both before childbirth and during. Practice these skills so they become second-nature to you.
7. Avoid people who want to tell you horror stories.
For some reason there are women in the world who love to make their birth stories a made for TV drama and want a terrified audience. For some, the worse the story, the better they think they sound. Don't worry about being rude to someone who doesn't worry about scaring you.
8. Visualize how you want your birth to go.
It may seem silly, but doing this simple exercise can help you prepare and help you make your daydreams reality. By relaxing you make the images more likely to occur.
9. Keep a pregnancy journal.
Letting your emotions spill into ink can help you organize your thoughts and face your fears.
10. Expect the best, and that's the most likely outcome.
Visit a hospital nursery, look at photos of happy moms and babies, read happy birth stories. Fill your mind with excitement and bliss rather than fear or dread.
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