For the majority of women of childbearing age who have not given birth, the idea of a fear free childbirth is unheard of …isn’t childbirth pretty scary? It’s even scary to those that HAVE given birth, especially if things didn’t go too well. And yet this fear is misplaced, and stems from a cocktail of misinformation, drama-filled TV shows and movies, horror stories and fear of the unknown. Sadly, in some countries where the standard of healthcare is pretty shoddy, childbirth is still responsible for fatalities in women, however, for the woman who chooses to give birth in a developed country, the risks are very low. In the UK, the risks are falling and it now stands at 8 for every 100,000 births (source RCOG National Enquiry).

Why a opt for a fear free childbirth?

For both men and women, the birth of their children is one of life’s magical moments. It’s an experience that will stay with you both of you forever, so wouldn’t it be nice to approach such an experience with open hearts, rather than full of fear? That on its own is a pretty compelling reason. But, there’s more… and for the women, it’s even more compelling. Fear directly impacts the level of pain that you will experience during childbirth. The more fear and anxiety, the more pain. The more pain you experience, the more likely you will make choices that can contribute to a problematic birth, and possibly traumatic birth. Traumatic births are known to be contributing factor to post natal depression. All this is backed by research and evidence so it’s nothing new. What’s new is the arrival of Reflective Repatterning, and its ability to work at ridding us of fears quickly and thoroughly in both mind AND body.

So, if you take time to reduce your fears and anxieties BEFORE the birth, then you’re improving your chances of a positive and pain-free birth experience. At the very least you will have a fear free childbirth.

The way I see it, there are 2 broad categories of fear that we come across when it comes to childbirth and labour;

1. Fear of the unknown

Fear of the unknown, or as I prefer to refer to it; fear arising from being misinformed.

If this is first time pregnancy for you, then it completely makes sense that you will experience this fear to some degree, maybe even by the bucket load. I know I did during the early part of my first pregnancy. But, a lot of this fear comes from not really being well-informed on matters of childbirth to be able to ascertain with confidence as to whether your fears are well-grounded. In fact, it’s likely that your fears are fed by a cocktail of seeing births on TV or in the movies, hearing your friends’ horror stories or seeing horrific birthing videos when you were at school. I’m sure they have ulterior motives when we are that age, so it’s understandable that they show us a nasty version. It certainly worked as a pretty good contraception for me.

But how much do you REALLY know about childbirth? Have you taken the time to research childbirth in any great detail to understand what’s really going on? It’s likely, that if you are fearful of it that you haven’t. Once we have a better understanding of the labour and childbirth process, a lot of this fear evaporates. If after getting your head around childbirth, you’re still fearful, then what you have left is the second type of fear;

2. Deep emotional fear

This fear resides deep within your subconscious and it arises from previous experiences (including those you’ve consciously forgotten), your values and your beliefs. This kind of fear is not the type that goes away just by thinking positively or studying harder because the rational mind is not able to change things that lie ingrained in our subconscious.

I say ingrained, because these things are. Your beliefs are rock solid. If you have the belief that childbirth is not natural, and the female body is obviously not designed to have a baby’s head, or indeed its body come out of it naturally then being presented with solid evidence to suggest otherwise, is not going to change your mind. Just as you may be have the belief that you are not good enough, or you always fail, even though you hear people tell you how amazing you are, and see evidence that you are perfectly capable of succeeding at things, these beliefs will dictate your thinking and your resulting behaviour.

Fears at this level will trigger the stress response in the body, whether you like it or not. You might read into childbirth until you’ve devoured every book imaginable, but if when you think of [insert any aspect of childbirth here that you like] you still can’t help but feel a heavy sick feeling in the pitt of your stomach then you have some more work to do. This feeling in your body is hardwired, at least for the time being. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be changed, but changing it requires a very different approach to simply being better informed. The thing is, fears that are affecting your body like this, will be having a magnified effect on you when you’re in childbirth, not helped if you’re also feeling vulnerable, tired or scared. And given that your body is the one doing all the work on the Big Day, it’s better for you and baby is there aren’t fears affecting it and preventing it from doing the job it is so beautifully designed to do.

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Did you have a fear free childbirth? Does the idea of having a fear free childbrith seem achievable to you?

Let me know in the comments!

Alexia Leachman
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