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Feeling into the Fear of Childbirth: Why It's Important for Your Mental Well-Being

When you think about giving birth – what are some of the words or images that come to mind for you? (This in and of itself can be a beautiful journal or creative writing exercise)


Fear might be one of the feelings, and you wouldn't be alone! The reasons for these feelings may be due to fear of the unknown and not knowing what's going to happen in labour; it might be due to a lack of confidence. For some women, it's possible that you've heard a negative birth story or you are that birth story and have some unresolved feelings about a previous birth.


Fear of birth itself gives most mothers some anxiety during their birth - and this is totally normal! Did you know that a natural consequence of fear is pain? We often hear that birth is painful - and it is, however this pain is often intensified due to fear and anxiety surrounding birth.


So what if instead of dwelling on the unknown, we chose to lean into the fear of birth? Becoming educated about the process of labour by undertaking an independent childbirth education workshop to understand what is happening and help to eliminate feelings of fear surrounding childbirth.


Fear - Tension - Pain: Feeling into the Fear of Childbirth

In the 1920s, Obstetrician Grantley Dick-Read theorised what has become known as the Fear-Tension-Pain cycle. After observing women in labour, he suggested that fear causes a birthing person to become tense, that tension causes our body to tighten, creating tension in our muscles, including the muscles of the uterus. The increased pain, in turn, increases fear, and the cycle repeats itself.




Fear - Tension - Pain: Find freedom from the Fear of Childbirth

There's a way to break the Fear - Tension - Pain cycle. Ideally we want to decrease pain by decreasing the fear that feeds it, so the best way to do this is through education, the techniques you'll learn in my Yoga for Birth workshop will teach meaningful activity skills to increase feelings of safety and confidence, while the birth support person learns ways in which to provide supportive care so that the birthing mother can surrender and allow the natural process of birth to unfold.



Every labour will experience aspects of each of these cycles, however understanding the amazing process of birth, and learning how the female body is designed to cope with the pain of labour while learning comfort measures to help with discomfort can help mothers and their birth partners to approach birth feeling confident and calm,


Want to learn more ways to support your labour and your birth?

I teach pain coping techniques for birth in my pregnancy yoga classes and I dive even deeper into this knowledge within my Yoga for Birth Workshop for couples.


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