Overcoming Fear Of Pregnancy: Reasons And Remedies

Posted on: 30 January 2015

Many women desire to have a child, but that desire is outweighed by fearing pregnancy and birth. Fear during pregnancy can actually be a health hazard, and it can even make labor and delivery more painful. In order to quell your fear, it's important to get to bottom of that fear so that you can overcome it. 

Fear of pregnancy and birth can stem from multiple origins. These include:

1. Residual trauma from physical or sexual abuse.

Pregnancy requires more intimate care from doctors, and the birth experience can obviously trigger memories of past events. Vaginal and breast exams can often seem invasive to women who have been victims of abuse, as they can remind them of perpetrators or bring back feelings of powerlessness. If you are fearing the intimate experience that pregnancy can bring into your life, you can cope with it by:

  • interviewing several care providers before choosing. For some women, having a female doctor oversee care is a good start.
  • telling your doctor about specific care needs. While you don't have to go into detail, you can let your doctor know that you need to dictate all examinations of sensitive areas. Be open with your provider about your need for space, privacy, and never be afraid to stop an exam if you feel uncomfortable.
  • have a friend or birth counselor come with you to your appointments. Having someone you trust in the room can help you to feel safe.

2. A poor birth experience in the past.

Often, a traumatic experience with a previous pregnancy can create fears of trying again. For example, if you were in labor for hours, and had to have an emergency C-section without having time to emotionally prepare, you may worry that the same thing will happen again. In order to gain control over your fears, consider going to a birthing class that focuses on taking control of your birth. You can use positive affirmations to rebuild a trusting relationship with your own body. Usually, these positive thought will help to redirect your thinking, especially if you repeat them often. 

3. Miscarriages.

Miscarriage brings a keen sense of loss for women who are trying to have a baby. After trying, only to go through this physically and emotionally painful process with the attempt, some women be may dissuaded from trying again, just for fear that they will miscarry. If you are worried about having a miscarriage:

  • talk with your doctor. Sometimes, recurring miscarriages can be a result of low hormone levels or indicate a need for further medical intervention. 
  • reassure yourself that losing a baby is not your fault. Many women struggle to overcome feelings of guilt following a miscarriage. If these feeling don't go away, it's best to a pregnancy counselor in order to sort through them.
  • remember that statistics are in your favor. Every woman has a 15-20% of going through a miscarriage. After experiencing one, the chances only increase very slightly. So, even though you may be afraid to try again, the odds will still be in your favor. With good communication, self-help tools, and caring support from your loved ones, a doula and health care providers, your chances of having a rewarding pregnancy, birth and postpartum experience are greatly increased.

4. Concerns about body image. 

Many women worry about the toll that pregnancy takes on the body. Most women gain weight, grow larger breasts and have hormonal changes. You can help yourself to feel better about your pregnancy by making sure that your eat healthily, exercise and find ways to stretch. You will be surprised to find that your body does well.

Click here to investigate more options for support during your pregnancy, such as pregnancy counselling.