Fear and Anxiety in Giving Birth

hormones labor

Did you know that fear and anxiety in giving birth can affect regular labor? When we are afraid our body tenses up and releases adrenaline. Let’s talk about each of these effects. Today I will talk about tension and next week I will talk about the effects of adrenaline.

One of our first reactions, when we are afraid, is to tense up. Anything from our shoulders to our bottom (which in turn tenses up our pelvic floor muscles – the place baby has to come out!). When we are tense we actually feel pain more. Why? Something we call the fear-tension-pain cycle.

When this cycle is started we are afraid of something and we tense up. When this happens, our bodies perceive pain at a higher level. In labor it can look like this:

“Oh crap, it’s coming! It’s coming! OH NO! Here it is! OUCH, this contraction hurts SO much!”

The whole time this is happening the laboring mom is tensing up her hips, her face and any other part of her body she can.

So, the question is how do we break this? By replacing fear with knowledge and tension with relaxation. If this is done your perception of pain can be lowered.

If this is able to be accomplished this is what it can look like:

“The contraction is coming. Breath through it. Oh, it’s here. My body is working to bring this baby down. Keep breathing – focus. And…that contraction is done.”

How do we gain knowledge and relaxation tools for labor?

KNOWLEDGE: Take classes! The best way you, and your partner, can be educated on labor is taking evidence-based classes where you have an instructor that you are able to discuss things with and make friends at the same time! Find more information on my classes HERE.

RELAXATION: Take classes, practice and hire a DOULA! In my childbirth classes we practice relaxation techniques so you walk away with tools to be able to practice before the big day. A doula can help provide a calm, and relaxing environment no matter where you birth. Contact me to schedule a free consultation for doula services!

Join me next week as we discuss what happens when we tense up and our body releases adrenaline!

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