Fear of childbirth - A Growing Problem

According to the Association for Improvements in Maternity Services women are more concerned about giving birth than ever before. No one would argue that giving birth is a life-changing experience so it comes as no surprise that women are apprehensive about having their first baby. So why is the problem apparently getting worse.

Through research it has been agreed that there are a number of factors responsible, not least the growing number of images on television, which expose mothers to be, to dramatic and often harrowing scenes of real labour. Moreover, the change in social awareness and equality means more women than previously are pre-disposed to wanting to have greater control over their lives which leads to a rise in anxiety and opting more and more for Caesarean birth. In fact, according to one study, twice as many women are opting for this option than a decade ago.

Understandably, it is often first time mothers, who have yet to experience childbirth, who tend to suffer this anticipatory anxiety. Months and weeks before the event the strong associations with being out of control and the perceived pain which often arises through shared experiences from older relatives or friends who have may have gone through a less than positive labour tend to be transferred subconsciously to the part of the brain which conditions patterns of latent stress. Unlike other fears and phobias, fearing childbirth is not just a fear for the mother herself, but also her unborn child. The added responsibility of ensuring a safe delivery for the child simply adds to the exisiting layers of stress, which are a natural part of the pregnancy already.

There is no doubt that the unknown is one of the main factors in anxiety around childbirth. The mother who doesn’t know any better can effectively, but often incorrectly, rehearse the days leading up to labour, the arrival and the trauma associated with a painful delivery, so well that the mind and body work together to make the imagined experience a self fulfilling prophecy.

Strategies for relieving this unnecessary stress are not only desirable but also necessary. Relaxation techniques during childbirth have moved on from the traditional breathing exercises taught in the past and many expectant mothers can now turn to more natural alternatives like aromatherapy or even self-hypnosis.

Hypnosis and more specifically, hypnotherapy and NLP can be extremely effective in getting over the ‘mental block’ of childbirth because prior to labour the mother cannot only rehearse a more controlled and relaxed birth, but through self-hypnosis she can also learn to control any pain she might be anticipating.

For more information regarding this topic or if you wish to experience the power of hypnotherapy for a relaxed childbirth for yourself CLICK HERE for more information

David Faratian (Clinical Hypnotherapist)