3 ways to relieve c section anxiety (& guided pregnancy meditation)

Being told that you’ll need a c section feels daunting and scary. If you’re currently struggling with c section anxiety let’s talk about a few ways you can relieve that stress and begin to prepare for the positive birth of your baby.

c section anxiety

3 ways to relieve c section anxiety

Try to let go of your expectations of how it was “meant to go”

In my work with mothers around healing from birth, so many express shame and regret about how their birth went. We beat ourselves up emotionally, and mentally pull apart all the ways we feel like our birth went wrong or where our bodies “failed” us.

Typically this voice is even louder when a Mother is being told she has to have a caesarian. I know it can be hard to just “turn off” that voice, but with awareness you can start to quieten her down. If you want to reduce your c section anxiety, it starts with shifting how you think and feel about having a caesarian birth.

While we can do everything “right” to prepare for the birth we want, at the end of the day how it actually turns out is out of our control. Give yourself grace here. Holding onto guilt or feelings of failure are only going to make your c section anxiety worse.

Allow yourself to start accepting that this is the birth you’re meant to have. Of course, sometimes you might question whether a caesarian is essential. If you’re unsure, ask all the questions. Do your research. But once you’ve decided that a C section is right for you, allow yourself to embrace that choice. Focus on the fact that you are making an informed choice and choosing a birth that is the safest for you and your baby.

If you’re really struggling with negative feelings about your c section birth please reach out to a counsellor for support. Find one in your local area who specialises in the perinatal space or has experience working with c section anxiety, or reach out for a virtual session with me.

Focus on what you can control

Instead of ruminating on regret, focus on what is within your control. A planned c section and an emergency caesarian are very different experiences. If you have the gift of time, use it to prepare yourself which will help manage your c section anxiety. Just because you might not be having the type of birth you wanted, doesn’t mean that you can’t have other aspects of those births.

Ask your doctor about delayed cord clamping, skin-to-skin, birth photography and any other birth experiences you were looking forward to. In many cases these can still be accommodated and you don’t have to skip them just because you’re having a c section. Ask all the questions before your procedure and let yourself prepare in a similar way you would any other birth. You are still going to meet your baby! This is an exciting day!

While you’re asking about birth option, talk to your doctor about your c section anxiety. You certainly won’t be their first expectant Mum feeling this way. Don’t feel like you have to put on a brave face. It’s there job to reassure you before, during and after the procedure.

Use the same birthing skills you’d planned to use in your natural birth

You’ve probably put a lot of energy into learning skills for birth, and now you’re feeling disappointed you won’t even get to use them. Maybe you took a hypnobirthing course or completed my Yoga Wisdom for Birth Course?

They haven’t gone to waste! Those same skills of visualisation, meditation and relaxation are going to be incredibly helpful as you prepare yourself for a c section birth. These skills are going to be so helpful to relieve your c section anxiety as you wait for your procedure.

Allow yourself to sit with your feelings of c section anxiety in the lead up to your procedure. I know it can feel tempting to avoid your feelings and distract yourself instead. But being present with your feelings will help them to shift sooner.

Use this guided pregnancy meditation below to help you practise sitting with your c section anxiety. You can listen to it at any time you’re feeling overwhelmed or nervous; when you first find out that you’ll birth this way, on your way to hospital or even while you wait for the procedure to start.

Guided pregnancy meditation script to prepare for a c section birth

Please feel free to use this pregnancy meditation for your own practise or if you’re a teacher to support your students. You may use it as is, or modify it to suit your style of teaching. If you’d like more resources to teach pregnancy yoga – sign up to receive my free guide here or join us in the online prenatal yoga teacher training.

In today’s practice, we’ll focus on preparing your body and mind for a caesarean birth by breathing and surrendering to this experience.

Find a comfortable position to settle into. Seated or lying. Whatever feels right for you.

When you’re ready, allow your eyes to close, or if you choose to leave them open, soften your gaze letting your vision blur and turn your attention inwards.

Take a moment here to allow yourself to settle. Settle in to your skin and bones and allow a feeling of heaviness to relax you.

Inhale and allow your breath to touch places of tension within your body. Feel your jaw unclench. Allow your shoulders to drop and soften. Let your face relax. Soften your belly. Notice your heart slowing and softening.

Feel your entire being easing into a state of relaxation.

Notice that your breathing slows.

Feel each exhalation drawing you further into relaxation.

Imagine the breath entering through your nose, filling the space around your heart, moving into your belly and surrounding your baby. Notice as the exhale leaves your body softening further into these spaces in your body.

Be here for a moment with the effortlessness of your waves of breath.

Allow a sense of gratitude to wash over you and within you with your breath. Gratitude for your body and all that it’s done over the last nine months. Growing and expanding for your baby. Holding your baby safe within you.

If you notice any negative feelings arising as you think of your body, allow yourself to take a breath and give yourself some grace.

Remind yourself that everything is unfolding exactly as it’s meant to. Even if it’s not exactly how you imagined it would go.

Allow yourself to release into a state of surrender. Start by letting yourself surrender into this experience, right here, right now. Letting go of any ideas that are taking up space in your mind about how you thought your birth “should go”. Breathe in a feeling of acceptance and trust.

Allow yourself to also release any expectations or negative feelings about a caesarian birth. Lean into a feeling of excitement that this experience is going to end with you meeting your baby.

Breathe and allow yourself to be.

Allow yourself to drift further into this state of surrender. Imagine you’re being wrapped in the warm comforting embrace of all the women who have gone before you.

Imagine yourself being held by women in your family, close and distant friends, and women who you may not know, but who have also experienced this anxiety and nervousness about what’s to come. Allow yourself to feel held and supported by their arms, and their steady reassurance that you too will be okay in this experience.

Let yourself be held in their strength as you prepare for this moment of meeting your baby.

Breathe in a sense of acceptance. You don’t have to feel positive about your c section, but see if you can allow yourself to be here in this moment; allowing your heart to be present for the birth of your baby. Whenever your feelings become too much, allow yourself to take a breath. Remind yourself to be present here in this moment. Steady yourself in the strength of all those women who hold you in their hearts.

When you’re ready, start bringing your awareness back into your body. Gently blink your eyes open and notice your surroundings.

See if you can hold onto this sense of calm acceptance as you move throughout the rest of your day.

Where to next?

Keep practising your yoga tools to relieve c section anxiety in the lead up to birth.

Join my Online Yoga Circle to access all my resources for caesarian birth recovery.

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