What to do if you are afraid of birth.

afraid of birth


Being afraid of birth has been coming up a lot in conversations around me recently.  It’s incredibly normal, but also important we talk about why and how it can become a problem.


I still remember being pregnant for the first time and not even wanting to think about birth. Perhaps I thought if I didn’t think about it – I could just pretend it wasn’t going to happen?!


And as my belly grew it got to the point where I couldn’t ignore the fact that this baby was eventually going to have to come out … somewhere?!


So we did the hospital antenatal classes and learnt about our synthetic pain relief options and a couple or acupressure points and that was pretty much it.


After the antenatal session I remember feeling two things. Afraid of birth and afraid of them putting a big needle in my back for an epidural.




I wasn’t taught how fear actually works against you in labour.


I wasn’t taught how my body and hormones work together to perform a perfect orchestrated dance to birth my baby.
I wasn’t taught how being relaxed actually makes your birth go more smoothly.




I went in believing that the midwives and doctor knew exactly what they were doing (whereas I felt like I had no idea) and I should just listen to them.


During birth my intuition kicked in.  But I still felt like I had to listen to them.  I remember feeling confused. And scared… actually no, pretty freakin’ terrified really.


I was the ‘perfect patient’ first time around. I did everything they said. But I wasn’t sick.


In all honesty, I came out wondering… is that really how it’s meant to go?


Second time round I got proactive. I researched and started asking a million and one questions.


I learnt how my body worked during birth.

I  learnt how to trust it and listen to it.

I learnt how to handle my fear and how to relax even when the sensations got BIG!


Rory was born 2 hours after my first contraction and I was present and aware of every minute of it.


What was the biggest difference?


I wasn’t afraid and I trusted that my body could do it.


So what to do if you’re afraid of birth?




Honestly, read! Go to a course. Talk to other Mums who have had uncomplicated births (don’t get caught up in all the horror stories, mostly we need to vent these for ourselves – it won’t actually help you!)


It doesn’t matter what brand you go with – hypnobirthing, calm birth, BIRTHflow we essentially all teach the same thing – just with our own unique spin.


We teach you how your body works, how you can work with it and what sorts of things are likely to take you away from being in your flow.  {I am running a BIRTHflow workshop this weekend from 11am – 4pm if you are Sunshine Coast based – shoot me an email if you’d like me to book you a spot! bettinaraeyoga@gmail.com }



Actively work on releasing your fears


I know it can be tempting to want to hold them in and pretend they don’t exist but this pretty much just guarantees they are going to pop back up as soon as things get stressful.


Like… uh… during labour?!


There are many ways you can release fears – talk through them with someone, work with an energy healer (reiki, etc), go for a run and shake them out, practice yoga, write them all down and burn them, practice a fear release meditation.



Empower your support person 


When sh*t gets real – you want someone who is 100% on your side.  But more than that – you want to make sure that your support person knows what the hell do to at this time.


Stay calm.

Encourage you to stay calm and have tools to do this (massage, water, ice-chips, wet washers, the right words – literally GIVE THEM the right words before the event – printed out meditation scripts, etc)

Be the brain to understand all the medical jargon (you’ll like be in full blown labour by this part and your brain will no longer be working – nor do you want it to).

Know your preferences ahead of time to be empowered to make a decision for you.

Stay calm. (did I mention that already?)


afraid of birth


Surround yourself with positive words and images of birth

As with most things, ‘whether we think we can, or we think we can’t – we’re right’. Our thoughts are incredibly powerful when it comes to how situations turn out. If we think birth is going to be scary and horrible – there really is no other option – is there?


The beautiful Alisha from Mumma Love – Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond sent me her amazing affirmation cards and I thought this post would be the perfect time to share them with you.  They are the perfect way to focus on the positives during pregnancy and beyond.  If I was pregnant I would be surrounding my house in these, as little positive reminders for myself whenever I saw them.


afraid of birth


Alisha says this of her cards.

Creating these cards has been such a labour of love for me. I started designing these cards when I was pregnant with our fourth child Byron. From the words, to the watercolour backgrounds and drawings -they were born from the love of wanting to help a few of my close friends who were pregnant with their first children and were anxious, scared and fearful.  By putting my energy into these cards, I also began to take steps to heal myself. I had been suffering from depression and perinatal anxiety after my daughter had swallowed a button battery and the guilt I lived with after that event. Giving me a place to focus my love and energy helped me to clear some of the thought patterns in my mind also. 


As a mum of four children I have birthed all my babies without drugs or interventions. I believe that being empowered through knowledge, choices, options and mindset is a huge influencer in the way we bring our babies into the world. Affirmations are a way to train our brain for positive thinking and a positive outlook. Our brain is so incredibly powerful and we all have the ability to see things from Love instead of fear. I’m so excited to have released their beauty into the world and to help the amazing women that are called to use them.


I hope this helps your to work through some of that fear around birth – and if you have done it before – what helped you manage being afraid of birth?


Alisha Bourke is the owner of Mumma Love – Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond. Alisha is a mum of four beautiful children based on the Gold Coast. She is a Student Birth & Postpartum Doula which allows her to combine her passion and love of pregnancy, birth and the transition period to motherhood. She is a self professed birth nerd who believes all birth is beautiful. Nothing gives her greater joy than helping and encouraging women to feel empowered about their upcoming birth’s and motherhood.

One Response to “What to do if you are afraid of birth.

  • This is so great Bettina!
    Important points, and how second time around, your trusted and let go of the fear.
    Birth can be beautiful, when we get out of our heads and lead with or heart. Our primal instincts take over, our bodies were made to birth our babies 🙌

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