3 Myths that Keep Pregnant Women Feeling Anxious and Fearful about their Birth.

Fear is often talked about in relation to childbirth.  Firstly because many women feel fearful, secondly because fear and the hormones related to fear can act like a safety switch for women by slowing or even stopping labour and thirdly because fear can also create tension and more intense pain in labour.  So generally it is best for women to minimise their fear.  One way to do this is to understand some of the facts about normal labour and bust some myths.

Many pregnant women are understandably fearful and anxious about their ever approaching birth.  Most of us have experienced “horror” stories from families and friends, the media reinforces birth as a “drama” in TV shows, films and the news and society backs it up by keeping it all a big secret.  So given this, it’s not surprising that many women simply feel scared about birth.

All of this means that myths are perpetuated in society and resting in our subconscious mind.  Here are three myths that keep women feeling unnecessarily fearful about their birth.

  1.  Myth 1 – You have to lie on your back in labour and to give birth – There are two myths wrapped up in this belief.  Firstly that you have to do what you are told and that you don’t have any choice.  This idea in itself is quite scary and to be quite frank, simply not true for normal labour (without epidural).  In fact, it is best for you to move around and follow your body as you feel you want and need to as this helps the baby to come into the best position for a safer and easier birth.  Secondly, most women will naturally labour and give birth in some form of squat or hands and knees variation – perhaps even on their side, but rarely on their back by their own choice as it is counter intuitive to birth.
  2. Myth 2 – All you are going to experience in labour is pain – Many women say that they wouldn’t describe the contractions as pain but rather as so intense that they couldn’t find another word.  I felt like this with my first baby, I felt the word had been lost or was missing.  There are many emotions and sensations experienced in normal labour which can include such things as joy and elation, feeling empowered and a sense of wellbeing! The hormones of labour are the same as those produced with singing, dancing, relaxation, meditation, love and the social situation when one ‘loses themselves’.  Women have even experienced orgasm in labour.  The key here is that for most women the more calm, relaxed and supported you are the less pain they feel – and conversely as women become distracted by fear they will report that their experience of pain increases.
  3. Myth 3 – Birth is a medical emergency – It’s actually just a bodily function.  When you come into understanding this, you can start to get your mind out of the way, allow yourself to turn inward and trust your body.  While we are very lucky to have the safety net of hospital.  We receive many conflicting messages which confuse your conscious and your subconscious minds. So many women immediately go into high alert and fear with first contractions because we have been conditioned that birth is a medical emergency and this in itself creates more complications in labour as it triggers fear, stress hormones and can slow labour.

Where to from here?  For many women, there’s a lot of undoing, unlearning and untangling to do.  Education is key so that you can make informed choices, finding the right people to support, mentor and guide you is paramount and practicing the art of letting go in body and mind will help you connect intuitively with this life-transforming metamorphous that is pregnancy, birth and motherhood.

Tara x

Ps Recieve our Free Video Series on the 7 Secrets of Childbirth here.

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