Advanced search

I’m really scared of childbirth and not even pregnant!

(26 Posts)
Luc187 Sun 16-Sep-18 11:31:21

So I’m considering having an baby at some point in the future, but I think childbirth is really scary and horrible.

I’m not even pregnant yet, but have already listened to hypnosis books, read up on all pain reliefs, hospitals etc and I’m still worried.

I don’t really want a c section, or an epidural but what if as many women describe it ‘I feel like I’m going to die’. I don’t want to feel like that, not for anyone or anything.

Is this perhaps a sign I’m not ready for a baby or is this normal behaviour?

Can people share their childbirth experiences, good or bad and if anyone else has felt the same before giving birth please share.


OP’s posts: |
MouseClogs Sun 16-Sep-18 19:51:26

This is much, much easier said than done, but try not to get yourself into too much of a tailspin.

Tokophobia is a real thing. You may find that being pregnant focuses your mind and that this is more of a theoretical worry, in a sense, and that the prospect of giving birth won't seem as terrifying or alien when it's actually real and imminent.

You may, of course, still be terrified at the prospect.

Everybody varies, and I'm a huge banger-onner, so will try (and fail) to keep this brief:

I had an elective c-section - technically for medical reasons but wasn't absolutely 100% necessary - more just advisable. I felt more comfortable with a c section on the basis that you basically get what it says on the tin, the number of things that can go awry is smaller and I - personally - would have felt more in control. And it was the right decision for me - it was magical, and as a rather major bonus it was easy and painless and I felt calm and lucid.

You have a legal right to a c-section if you don't wish to deliver vaginally when the time comes. Sometimes, depending on where you are and the antenatal staff you end up dealing with, you can end up having to battle a bit to persuade them. But it is still your right, and if they are convinced that you are cognisant of your rights and educated on the risks involved, they are less likely to put obstacles in your path.

Regarding vaginal delivery - it is a scary prospect, I agree. But it is worth remembering that, like c section delivery, it is safer now than at any other point in human history. Yes, sometimes things go wrong - again, as with c section delivery - but statistically things are very much on your side. IME obstetric staff now are much more amenable to things like hypnobirthing and the idea that a woman's environment as she labours has a significant effect on maternal and even neonatal outcome. Round here (South East) it's reasonably common now for maternity units to have things like iPod docks, soft lighting etc. Even things like aromatherapy are permitted in some places. Doulas are also an option if you're in a position to acquire one, and they are invaluable for a lot of women. Another thing worth bearing in mind is that if you feel that your anxiety would be alleviated by a less hospital-y environment and your pregnancy is deemed low risk, then (if there is one nearby) there's also the option of having your baby in a birth centre, where things are often much more "homely" and low key. (Again - people vary: some would feel calmer in a more medicalised environment).

Of course, if you and your doctor end up deducing that this really is a full blown phobia that might even impact on whether or not you feel able to get pregnant, there's also the option, AFAIK, of going down the route of therapy of some kind. I'm less au fait with what's offered on this score and what it involves, but definitely worth looking into.

FWIW, I'm a data junkie and relish the availability (courtesy of the internet) of every bit of info you could possibly dream of - but I do think the flip side is that it can be utterly paralysing to be armed with vast, vast amounts of info. And if you're reading up on a topic that for you has no solid "end point" (eg reading up on the minutiae of childbirth, study by study, when you're not yet pregnant) then it's possible to fall down an endless rabbit hole of data with no real-life frame of reference - which is, of course, very anxiety inducing.

Wishing you calm, and the very best of luck.

MadhousMom59 Sun 16-Sep-18 21:18:22

Hun I have 9 children and I can tell you that you are in control of how your birth will be. People fear birth. But it's in your hands. The calmer you are the quicker that special moment. I talked my daughter through a 5 hour birth.

MadhousMom59 Sun 16-Sep-18 21:18:59

Hun I have 9 children and I can tell you that you are in control of how your birth will be. People fear birth. But it's in your hands. The calmer you are the quicker that special moment. I talked my daughter through a 5 hour birth.

AssassinatedBeauty Sun 16-Sep-18 21:26:42

I'm not sure why you wouldn't want an epidural? It would solve your fear about pain, as you don't feel anything at all.

Also, people's perception of pain is different and what contractions feel like can be very different. You can't judge how you would feel based off what other people say.

Plus, labour pain happens for a reason. You know why the pain is happening and what it's for. That can help to cope with it, as you know it isn't actually going to kill you! It's there to get your baby out.

Galaxyteal Sun 16-Sep-18 23:05:18

This was like me, I didn’t want a baby cuz I was to scared for the birth. When I fell pregnant I felt more dred than excitedly first. I’m such a wuss at pain and petrified of needles. But honestly the fear is gone once labour starts. I had drugs and gas and air, it took my mind off the pain. I ended up with my biggest fear having a csection after a failed suction and forceps cuz she had a big head. And you know what, she’s only 6 months old and I’m wanting another already smile your body knows what it’s doing, and your getting your baby at the end of it feeling ever.

BlueKittens Sun 16-Sep-18 23:16:22

Your body is built to give birth, it’s amazing that it can and you survive. But for most people it just works. It’s an amazing feeling giving birth- I felt euphoric afterwards.

The birth wasn’t that painful and I had a 9.4lb baby! Your midwives talk you through it, tell you how to manage it and what to do at each stage. I felt in very safe hands. If something where to go wrong I knew there were staff on hand to respond. I just had gas and air, the birthing pool. I’ve honestly had worse back pain/ stomach ache than giving birth. Contractions are like intense period pain and they are not constant. You welcome them because with each contraction you are closer to giving birth. My mum said the same. The only really ouch bit was pushing but it didn’t last too long, I would describe it as a stinging sensation. But when you are finished it doesn’t really hurt anymore and you can’t remember it. You only feet stinging when going for a wee.

For me the most difficult bits of having my dd was the morning sickness (all day) week 7-10 and initiating breastfeeding (toe curling pain for a week for me), they were more painful than birth.

Luc187 Sun 16-Sep-18 23:16:39

Thanks all for the responses. I don’t want an epidural because one of my best friends nearly died from it being I correctly inserted. I also hear lots of women say they suffer back pain for years afterwards so I just don’t want the added risk of all that. I don’t want to take away from anyone that’s had one but with what happened to my friend it just doesn’t seem worth it.

OP’s posts: |
Galaxyteal Sun 16-Sep-18 23:23:27

There is other drugs that help with the pain, i had to have the spinal block for the c section and I have no problems with my back. Breathing though honestly really does help. You will get sick of people telling you to breath but it works wonders. Hypo breathing is what you should look at.

BlueKittens Sun 16-Sep-18 23:28:34

Also I should add I did everything I could to increase levels of oxytocin prior to birth. On the day when I knew it had started we went to lunch the cinema and I had a glass of wine chocolate a bath with favourite candle. Cuddles with DH- I did everything to relax, take my mind off it and it worked! By the time I got to hospital I was 9cm dilated! I really recommend focusing on enjoying yourself than being in labour. Ignore as long as possible. This was all based on the advice of my NCT teacher. It worked for me and I will be following this approach again.

Luc187 Sun 16-Sep-18 23:31:30

Had your waters broken before you went to cinema and lunch?!

OP’s posts: |
BlueKittens Mon 17-Sep-18 00:04:59

My mucus plug had come out that morning- that’s how I knew. I had contractions in my back (wasn’t sure 100% as just felt like mild twinges). I sort of knew labour was imminent but wasn’t sure how far away. My waters only broke in the pool shortly before I started pushing.

Many people I know have had straight forward births like me. The people who’ve had medical intervention kinda knew it was coming (twins, pre eclampsia, breach baby) all had planned c-sections. Most people found getting breastfeeding established more challenging than the birth.

Iwantaunicorn Mon 17-Sep-18 18:45:33

I was terrified of blood tests, not a fan of needles and hate hospitals. I needed ivf, so plenty of the above! It was shit, but I survived, and can now have blood taken without crying and having a panic attack.

I had an elcs for my DTs, and it was such a calm and controlled experience. Everything was explained to me before it happened, and I was reassured every step of the way (helps me to cope if I know what’s happening, and if it’s painful that it’ll be over soon), and the epidural was absolutely fine even though I was terrified of having one done.

I think your fears are perfectly normal. I used to get completely grossed out and feel faint at hearing birth stories, and couldn’t watch one born every minute etc, but when it came down to having my own babies I was ok. To be fair, towards the end of my pregnancy I felt like I could’ve cut them out myself without pain relief as I was absolutely desperate to no longer be pregnant!

MadhousMom59 Mon 17-Sep-18 21:37:49

Oh hun, stop overloading yourself with bad ideas about pregnancy.. It's not like that. I promise. Don't let anyone put you off .

BlueBug45 Tue 18-Sep-18 03:43:17

OP most birth stories you will find online or hear will be the traumatic ones. The ones that were calm, easy and/or quick you won't hear about as they don't make good stories. I suggest you stop searching out stories and tell those who wish to tell you about their horrid birth experience to shut up unless they are complaining about the attitude of staff at a particular maternity hospital near you.

Loulabelle25 Tue 18-Sep-18 04:18:49

The thought of being pregnant and giving birth used to freak me. The reality was very different. In the end, I decided to approach labour as calmly as possible as I believed that going into it without fear would really impact on my experience of labour.I did an online hypnobirthing course which I found really informative. I used the breathing techniques all through my labour which I found useful although I didn’t use some of the other strategies like guided meditations. I managed all the early stages of labour at home on my own - I didn’t even tell my husband until he got home from work. I felt calm and could breathe to cope with the contractions. By the time I got to the hospital, I was only there for 3 and half hours before my little boy arrived after only 50 minutes in the pool and with a few puffs of gas and air.

I’m well aware that I was fortunate to have a straightforward birth with no complications but so do many, many other women. As a previous poster said, lots of the birth stories you come across online are skewed towards traumatic experiences. Undestandably, sharing those experiences are cathartic and help those women to process their birth. We seem to post less about positive experiences. I couldn’t think more highly of the midwives who helped deliver my son and the hospital I gave birth in tries incredibly hard to allow women to give birtgin the manner they would like (pools, active births, low lighting, music, birthing balls etc). I gave birth just 10 days ago. I wouldn’t say giving birth was enjoyable, there was pain (was bearable), but it was certainly a positive experience for me. I felt bloody amazing after until my lack of sleep kicked in!

strawberr Tue 18-Sep-18 20:01:31

I was terrified too, I almost didn't want children BECAUSE of the fear of it - and I didn't want an epidural and was terrified of a C-section too!

I had a healthy baby (who was 9 and a half pounds) through normal delivery. It's the most horrific pain but it's so worth it, you'd do it over and over to get your baby. If it was so bad, a lot of women wouldn't go on to have 2nd/3rd/4th babies smile

Honestly it's fine - it's a magical experience when you look back. I think the fear is probably worse than the pain so just don't stress!!

MrsNewbie87 Mon 24-Sep-18 18:32:45

Exactly in the same boat as you Luc187! My husband and I will be starting to TTC in the next few months and everything is terrifying me right now! Even reading the books provides very brief relief, but the negative thoughts start to creep in.... I read somewhere that humans are naturally drawn towards the negative aspects of life and tend to remember the bad/scary stories that are rare. There seems to be lots of ladies on here that have had wonderful strawberr says, if it was so bad, people wouldn't do it over and over again!! I'm trying to keep the mindset of 'it's not as bad as your mind thinks, hold your nose and jump!'

PetraRabbit Wed 26-Sep-18 22:37:05

I felt the same way. I googled the hell out of the subject for years. I had my first (so far only) at the age of 41. I chose an elective caesarian, which was also a bit scary but absolutely fine, and very easily granted. I think going through the pregnancy process helps prepare women. You would have a few freak outs but you would honestly be fine.

GreenMeerkat Wed 26-Sep-18 22:43:00

OP, nobody is going to lie to you and say it's fine and easy and it doesn't hurt. It bloody does hurt. BUT, you can do it, millions of women do it every day and you are one of them. It's true I yelled out that I wanted to die during labour, it is true it's a pain like no other, but it's a pain that we can, and do manage!! And is worth it in the end.

Babyshark2018 Wed 26-Sep-18 22:45:06

I had a tens machine, pethidine, epidural and gas and air. I loved giving birth smile. It was very calm, relaxed and the best experience of my life. I felt exactly like you do but you have to just get pregnant then look at options afterwards.

There are lots of ways to manage the pain and you can just take what ever you feel you need at the time. It’s so worth it and you (in my case) will likely forget the pain after a few weeks/months anyway.

lottiegarbanzo Wed 26-Sep-18 22:52:51

It was very uncomfortable, there's no getting around that. But, not so very bad really for me. Calmness and preparation help. I think meditation / hypnobirthing techniques can help. Being fit and healthy help. A TENS mechine helped me - may not be for everyone but was good for me. Gas and air is nice too.

There is luck and chance involved, of course. I woudn't rule out the option of an epidural.

My feeling was very much that a vaginal birth is the way we're designed to do it - and that area does spring back into place quite fast. A CS seemed a more drastic idea to me. But, it is an option if preferable to you.

ChristmasArmadillo Wed 26-Sep-18 22:57:26

I think that those of us who had an easier time with childbirth don’t share our stories as often because in a way it feels like bragging. Therefore the information out there about what to expect is skewed a bit toward the catastrophic.

For me, delivery is 1-2 hours of great discomfort, 5 or so minutes of real, toe curling pain at crowning and then a lovely baby. I’ve never had any pain relief at all so that’s my genuine experience! The more you can force yourself to relax and go with the ctx instead of fighting against them the easier it is, usually.

FoxgloveStar Mon 01-Oct-18 22:36:14

I realise I’m not going to be popular for saying this, but childbirth is scary. It can be easy and joyful or horrendous and scarring. If I knew what was in store for me I would have been scared out of my mind. Those saying you are in control are lucky to have had easy births. It doesn’t always go your way.

Many people suffer injuries or suffer through significant pain. It isn’t unusual for interventions to be required, you can look up the stats.

Now is it helpful for me to tell you that I have a high pain tolerance and yet labour felt like my spine being sawed in half every 30 seconds for 2 days? Maybe. Women are fooled into thinking a bit of hypnobrithing and aromatherapy can counter something like that. Of course, it isn’t always like that. I had a baby turning the wrong way.

Is it helpful to tell you I left hospital after a week with a number of injuries including a broken bone, wrecked pelvic floor, bodged stitches that had to be redone, ecoli and a catheter in? Maybe. These type of issues are not uncommon. But many people escape relatively unscathed.

So I guess my message is that you have to be mentally prepared to deal with what could be an awful experience. If it isn’t something you think you could get through then maybe you need to take more time before embarking. Despite what I went through I’m pregnant again now so ready to throw myself into the fray and role the dice again.

FoxgloveStar Mon 01-Oct-18 22:43:40

Most people going into pregnancy for the first time (myself included) don’t have a good sense of what labour is really like and the potential outcomes. I don’t think it is a bad thing that people are trying to be better informed and find out the relative risks before taking the decision to get try and get pregnant.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in