How to deal with your fears about birth – and why it’s so essential that you do

  • Ergobaby
  • Jul 9, 2021

How to deal with your fears about birth – and why it’s so essential that you do


We have a brilliant guest blog for you today from birth coach Rachel Quickenden. Rachel is a mum of two little boys and lives in Kent. She is a birth coach, teaching hypnobirthing and antenatal courses and supporting expectant couples all the way up to birth. She discovered hypnobirthing after the birth of her first son – and it blew her mind!


She started learning about it after there were a few aspects of her own birth experience that didn’t sit right with her, and she was also impacted by all the negative birth stories that she heard at baby groups.  


She passionately believes that with the right preparation, any birth – however it looks – can be a positive experience. She also believes that hypnobirthing can be fuss-free, modern and practical. 




Remember the last nightmare that you had? How did you feel when you woke up?


Sweaty? Tense? Heart racing? Panting?


That nightmare wasn’t real. It was a scenario played out in your imagination – and yet it had a really strong physical response on your body, because the mind and body are completely connected. What’s more, the mind doesn’t know the difference between what’s real and what isn’t! So it still sends those ‘Quick! Run for your life!’ signals to your body, even when there’s no real threat.


This is why hypnobirthing is such an important part of birth preparation. It is inevitable that we all come to birth with fears and worries and anxieties, because we live in a society that talks about birth as this scary, painful event that is simply a means to an end. Something that we must suffer through in order to hold our gorgeous little baby in our arms. But the trouble is, when we have these deep-seated fears and anxieties that birth is scary and painful – that’s exactly what it becomes.


Just like when you experience a nightmare, when you are labouring and full of fear and worry, your body tenses and produces adrenaline. All of which is completely unhelpful for labour and birth! Being pumped full of adrenaline and tension means that the body cannot labour easily, because it is trying to protect you and your baby by stalling labour to keep you safe from that perceived threat! This leads to a longer, more painful, more difficult labour.


When preparing for your birth, it really is key that you take the time to learn how to reduce your fear of birth, develop techniques to calm your mind and relax your body – and you really will reap the benefits! I’m certainly not promising a pain-free birth (I wish I was!!) but hypnobirthing mums will usually experience much more positive, manageable births which they look back on fondly.


So how do we get rid of the fear? Hypnobirthing sounds pretty weird doesn’t it! I totally get that – I avoided it for my first birth, thinking it was a bit odd and all a bit unnecessary. It was only when I was pregnant with my second baby that I discovered how rooted in science it is – and how it totally makes sense! There are a number of ways that you can start tackling that fear:


  1. Knowledge is power! Getting a really good understanding of how your body works during labour and birth will not only teach you how to support your body before and during labour, but it will also help you to trust your body – and so relax more!


  1. Gradual changes to your mindset. When we only ever see and hear of birth as a horrible, dangerous event that is inevitably what we think of. But there are millions of beautiful, calm, relaxed birth stories and videos out there for you to read and watch, all of which will start to change the narrative in your mind. Listening to guided relaxations will also have a big impact on your subconscious, the bit that you really need to prepare for birth.


  1. Learn some really effective breathing and relaxation techniques – but don’t just leave them for birth! You need to be practicing these during pregnancy so that they come naturally, without thought, by the time you go into labour.


  1. Know your rights and options. Feeling in control of your birth experience will go a long way in helping you to feel more positive. Knowing exactly what you can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to and what choices you really have will make such a difference.


  1. Surround yourself with people who are only going to support you and lift you up! Give yourself permission to say ‘no thanks’ to the scare stories from friends, change your midwife if you’re not feeling listened to, and involve your birth partner in your birth prep. Support is key.


And guess what…. there’s absolutely no chanting, no dancing naked in the woods and no swinging pocket watches!


CLICK HERE to learn more about how I can help you prepare for your birth.


Rachel Quickenden, Strong Like Mama