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Frightened About Childbirth? Here's Some Coping Mechanisms...

Giving birth can seem like a daunting, scary experience for the first-time mum. Sure, every mother SAYS it’s over in the blink of an eye, and every mother SAYS that with epidurals and other drugs, you won’t feel a thing. All the advice in the world, however, doesn’t erase the fact that you don’t know what to expect going in— well, not really.

We’re here to offer you a little peace of mind, as well as some coping mechanisms you can take with you come your due date. That said, these serve as some pointers only; it's up to you how you tackle childbirth and you should always chat to your healthcare provider or midwife before following any specific pregnancy or birthing regimen. Read on…


When you’re afraid and highly anxious during your labour, stress hormones are released, making it impossible for your body to relax and function normally, which is critical for a painless birth. On the flip side, if you’re calm and in control, happier chemicals like endorphins are released, relaxing your muscles and making you comfortable.

So how do achieve this state of deep comfort? Enter hypnobirthing, a technique that uses self-hypnosis to help women enjoy relatively pain-free labours.

You can find classes that teach you hypnobirthing, and from there, it’s all about daily practice.

You’ll learn how to breathe deeply and evenly, and how to visualise positive things. This could mean imagining an easy birth because nature intended for your baby to come out, versus panicking about the experience and feeling anxious going into it.

Bradley Method

The Bradley method of childbirth relies on a partner to help you cope. Contrary to what you may know about this method, 'partner' doesn’t have to refer to a romantic partner: It can also mean a close friend or a family member. The point is to have someone there to assist in the birth as a 'labour coach' - someone who isn’t a midwife, nurse, or doctor.

If you want the intimacy of childbirth with a trusted partner without medical intervention, this could be the method for you. Proponents of this method suggest labouring mums be in a dimly lit room with as little onlookers as possible. The environment must feel familiar, relaxed, and safe, as it’s believed that being anxious or uncomfortable can hinder the labour process.

Lamaze Method

Lamaze breathing is a popular method of natural childbirth, focusing, as the name implies, on regulating the breathing to relax the body and decrease the perception of pain. Unlike hypnobirthing, supporters of Lamaze say that the breathing is just part of the Lamaze method. Utilising other methods to make breathing easier includes taking walks, massaging your belly, changing positions, and even dancing slowly.

If all else fails with the above coping mechanisms, don’t feel ashamed or believe you’re weak for resorting to medical intervention if things aren’t going the way you hope. Ignoring severe pain could mean potentially overlooking birth complications, which could be dangerous both for you and your baby.

It's also worth:

  • ensuring you're more than ready for the big day by checking and double checking your hospital bag contains all the things you need
  • talking to your midwife about your fears and concerns
  • chatting to trusted friends and family members who've already experienced childbirth, who might put your mind at ease as best as possible.

Have any other coping mechanisms for childbirth? Let us know in the comments below or reach out to us on Facebook and Twitter!

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