There is often an element of fear, worry, concern or anxiety associated with labour and birth. Sometimes, these feelings can be so strong, that they can delay or affect decisions to start a family, limit family size, or have an impact on pregnancy and birth itself.
A few of the barriers that can get in the way of confidently moving into, through and out of pregnancy are:
– How we believe the pregnancy and birth will unfold
– Perception of previous birth experiences
– What we hear about pregnancy and birth in our community
– The influence of media and portrayals of birth
What all of the above have in common are a reliance on the experiences of others, either fact or fiction, which can imprint potential negative or traumatic events onto pregnancy and birth long before they have a chance to take place.
Fear can also create a tension and stress response, which has been shown to have the potential to modulate the physical and hormonal progression of labour.
One reassuring thing to remember is that birth is not a universal experience.
Just as each baby is unique, so is the way in which he or she enters the world.
Birth isn’t something that we can completely predict, control or concretely plan for.
This can be a particularly difficult aspect of birth to accept for many women and couples, especially if they are used to enjoying or having a sense of control in other aspects of life.
Most often, in fact, it is the inability to sit with uncertainty that creates feelings of fear towards pregnancy and birth. After all, it can be so easy to worry about parts of life that might create discomfort or challenge, particularly if we have never experienced them before.
How can we overcome this fear of the unknown that is often attached to pregnancy and birth?
Whilst uncertainty is certain in labour and delivery, it is always helpful to develop a sense of trust in your body, partner and caregiver, and to feel supported as you move through both the expected and unexpected parts of your pregnancy and birth.
The Calmbirth® program uses education to empower couples to move through labour and delivery with confidence and trust. Classes are designed to encourage parents-to-be, to learn about what they can expect during labour and delivery, as well as the unexpected events that may occur. By doing this, even though how a birth will unfold will not be known until it happens, couples can move through it with familiarity, and understanding of what can take place.