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My very dear friend is terrified about having to give birth. She's only got a few weeks to go. What advice would you give?

(24 Posts)
TheOneTheyCallMama Tue 15-Sep-09 16:30:41

My friend is 36 weeks pregnant with her first baby, she's been told far too many horror stories my her mum shock and is literally terrified. I'd really like to help her feel more capable (I know she is, we all are) but I don't really know how.

She's thinking about getting a doula but I'm not sure what she's decided, I'll find out tomorrow. Hopefully if it's something she and her husband decide to go for there will be one available at such short notice.

I've talked through my two birth experiences with her (one fantastic and one less so) and about birth in general. I suggested she look at some birth stories on line, I don't think she has yet though (too scared). Does anyone know any good sites?

I've namechanged in case I need to show my friend this thread wink

ohmeohmy Tue 15-Sep-09 16:35:43

she could see a hypnotherapist with interest in birth (you'll find some on the Hypnobirthing website) or just look locally and ring around and ask.

beautifulgirls Tue 15-Sep-09 16:35:54

Can she get hold of a hypnobirthing CD asap to try and get her mental state more positive before it all starts. It is never to late to get some benefit from it I'm sure. Try ebay and look for the Natal Hypnotherapy series (effective birth preparation) for her as I am finding it quite a good one to listen to - no idea how well it works in practice as I have yet to have #3 and never used it before this, but pretty stressed about giving birth again at one point and already feel calmer now.

Has she talked any of this through with the midwife at all? Has she been to any antenatal classes - I think getting all the info about what might happen and why gives you much more of a sense of control at the time too, though I do suggest if she does a birth plan she keeps it flexible and open to a degree too or she will be more likely to be disappointed if things do have to differ.

liahgen Tue 15-Sep-09 16:38:45

definately a Doula.

Where is she based, I can personally recommend someone suited to her needs probably.

TheOneTheyCallMama Tue 15-Sep-09 16:48:28

Thanks all!

We're in the Netherlands, there aren't many doulas here. In fact it's a pretty new thing. I'm hoping they decide to look into it though.

I'll have a look if I can find something on hypnobirthing for her but it'd have to come from the UK so I don't think there's enough time...

Birth plans aren't the norm here, I'm not sure what she'd think of having one but it's worth talking about!

ohmeohmy Tue 15-Sep-09 17:51:45

these are all HypnoBirthing practitioners in the Netherlands Minke Boxma

Coby Nypels
0031 70 3905771

Agna Overbeek
+31 38 8500877

Verginia van den Akker
+31 10 4586532

Elisabeth Van Den Berkmortel
+31 35 888 00 80

Marie Vijendran
31 (0) 624859763

I am sure one of them can help with a course or 1-1 sessions.

TheOneTheyCallMama Tue 15-Sep-09 17:54:13

Wow! Thanks! One of them is really quite close to my friend smile

Lio Tue 15-Sep-09 17:55:51

EFT. She can do it by phone with Sarah Holland, assuming she speaks English.

Worked for me.

TheOneTheyCallMama Tue 15-Sep-09 18:00:05

Great stuff! I knew MN would have some ideas!

So, we've got a couple of options for hypobirthing people. Any other good strategies for preparation?

Ripeberry Tue 15-Sep-09 18:01:50

I'm a bit angry at your friend's mum for making her so scared!

TheOneTheyCallMama Tue 15-Sep-09 18:04:30

As am I Ripeberry. My friend has told her mum to stop repeating them to her (and I think she has) but the damage is already done sad

ohmeohmy Tue 15-Sep-09 18:08:04

look at testimonials also some hypnobirths on youtube. Seeing a calm birth can really help get rid of old expectations.

another good exercise is to write down everything she is afraid of and talk it through - where has that message come from, what can I do to prevent x happening, if I can;t prevent it what can I do if it does happen so that I am prepares? etc. Sometimes just spelling it out can make it less scary.

ohmeohmy Tue 15-Sep-09 18:08:53

oh and if you can get hold of the videos Birth as we know it or Birth Day they are amazing

BrokenBananaTantrum Tue 15-Sep-09 18:25:30

The best advice that i think anyone can give to a worried first time mum is LISTEN TO YOURSELF AND TRUST YOUR OWN JUDGEMENT! I knew that something was going wrong at the birth of my DD but didn't say anything at first because i just thought that the midwivves knew what they were doing.

Found out afte 22 hours of labour and 2 hours oushing that DD was face up and i then needed forceps to get her out. I should have spoken up sooner than i did.

Your friend IS capable of doing this. She needs to believe in herself. I am big on human instinct and think that we should listen to ourselves and our bodies and not worry about what other people or HCP might think.

Hope she has a great birth

falteringfallback Tue 15-Sep-09 19:33:35

You could order her one of these if she doesn't want the full hypnobirthing experience:

relaxing positive CD

and persuade her to read some of these positive birth stories to balance out her mum's interventions:






I wish I had spent less time worrying about the birth and more- much more!- figuring out how I was going to get through the first six weeks. Whether you tell her that or not... smile

MrsHappy Tue 15-Sep-09 19:42:47

I have found looking at a lot of childbirth videos quite helpful this time (was totally unprepared the first time and ended up with a section). They remind me that millions of women manage and I will too. Also sometimes they show very calm births, illustrating that it does not have to be a screaming blood fest!
It was also helpful to watch a film of a baby crowning, since it shows how the tissues stretch amazingly. Makes it all seem like less of an impossibility...

TheOneTheyCallMama Tue 15-Sep-09 20:04:05

Thanks for the links falteringfallback smile

MrsHappy could you link to a few you'd recommend? I've no idea were to start...

I'm going to visit her tomorrow so all this is very helpful!

MrsHappy Tue 15-Sep-09 22:24:19

Loads on Youtube, but also:


This one is pretty graphic but shows how slowly the head might come out.

The above two show crowning very clearly.

There are lots of others at

HTH - They may just make her cringe (as they do me, sometimes) but I think it is important to realise how normal and possible vaginal birth is.

janephilips Tue 15-Sep-09 22:29:45

I would definately vouch for the natal hypno CDs - i was terrifeid of giving birth and went from wanting a c-section to having a compeltely natural birth. after listening the the cds only 3 times i felt like a different person with so much of the fear having gone - i have no idea how it worked but it did - please tell her to give it a go - it is so easy to use and I know they send them all over the world.

TheOneTheyCallMama Wed 16-Sep-09 10:47:07

Wow, thanks! I think the videos will probably be very helpful. I never watched any myself but I was lucky enough to have attended two births before my first child was born.

norktasticninja Wed 16-Sep-09 19:23:58

OP here. I've given up on the namechange as I don't think it's a good idea to show my friend this thread after all.

So, I spent the afternoon with her today and it seems to be worse than I thought. The good news it that her and her DP are seriously considering having a Doula and the one that covers this area is able to fit DF into her schedule. Fingers crossed that they go for it.

It didn't feel right to show her this thread in the end, she's a very private person. Which is why I didn't mention that she's suffering from AND and is in a county and culture far far from home. Luckily I managed to talk her into seeing a psychologist (first session was a week and a half ago) which seems to be helping her general state of mind.

I thought I'd try and warm her to the idea of looking at a couple of birth videos by looking through the photo's taken soon after DS's birth. They are in no way graphic, just me him and DP snuggling up in the minutes after his relaxed, quick and easy home birth. The cord being cut (no fanjo visible), his first bath, that sort of thing.

She said it made her feel scared sad

Thank god I didn't show her the ones of after DD's birth.

So, we just talked a bit. I said what BrokenBananaTantrum advised about trusting her own judgment and tried to get her to talk/think about what she specifically found so terrifying. It seems it's everything. Poor wee thing says she'd much rather the baby stayed inside.

I'm going to try and get a hypnobirthing CD for her but it's something I have no experience of myself.

volunteervole Wed 16-Sep-09 23:36:56

I do think the CD would help. It is just wonderful for relaxing at the end of pregnancy, some lovely visualisations etc. I don't think photos and videos would have helped me to be honest, so I can understand her reticence.

You sounds like a good friend.

notimetoshop Wed 16-Sep-09 23:51:10

I was absolutely terrified. Sometimes in tears. But two things helped, one a friend who told me about how it's not like in tv where you are suddenly overcome, it's a fairly gentle start. The other was distracting myself with preparations for the weeks' afterwards. Realising that many people have 2 children (or more) and so actively choose to go through childbirth AGAIN! And, perhaps strangely, reading an article about people who had, had to terminate because their child had no heart or liver, and realising that I was really lucky to have a healthy baby - and that I was prepared to go through childbirth. (ok 4 things).

skorpion Thu 17-Sep-09 13:32:15

I would thoroughly recommend Ina May Gaskin's Childbirth book. Full of positive examples and really empowering. I admit, I am only 10 weeks away from my first birth, so cannot really support it with experience, but having read the book I am not afraid anymore.

Good luck to your friend.

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