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Carleen Mandwe

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Overcoming fear in birth


Overcoming fear of birth is a significant challenge that many women face. Fear is natural and expected in childbirth; however, fear triggers a sympathetic

‘Fight or flight” response, leading to increased adrenaline, tension, pain, and slowing down of the birthing process. Therefore it is essential to discuss the roots of fear and a variety of strategies to overcome this fear.


Roots

The root of childbirth fear is usually associated with horror stories and imagery of women screaming in popular media. This has cluttered the minds of society with fear, leading to feelings of helplessness and anxiety. If we tell ourselves that a tiger is in the room, our brains do not know the difference between make belief and real. If we tell ourselves birth is scary then our bodies will act accordingly. This same principle can be applied the other way. When the brain believes it is safe, then the body can exist in a parasympathetic state of relaxation. What we think in our minds manifest in our bodies making mindfulness an important key for digging deeper and uncovering the roots of fear. Having a pregnancy journal to write down fears allows women's minds to sort through thoughts and feelings, and replace those voices with self-talk that will overcome those fears during labour and delivery.


Regulating the nervous system

Fear of birthing pain is a common denominator among women, leading to an increase in hospital births and interventions. The key to overcoming fear is regulating the nervous system through mindfulness to create a parasympathetic response that promotes restfulness and ease. Learning relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, visualization, and mindfulness can help you stay calm and centered during labor.

Senses can be stimulated through loving touch, smell, hearing, and thinking process, which release the neural-chemicals endorphins, melatonin, and oxytocin. This helps with relaxation and progression of labor.




Education and Support


One of the main reasons women are afraid of giving birth is due to a lack of knowledge about the process. Take child birth classes and read up on the topic to better understand what to expect during labour and delivery.

Knowledge of alternative birthing techniques, such as a tens machine, rebozo, baby sifting, hypno-birthing, orgasmic birth and pressure points, can also aid a parasympathetic response. It is important to research statistics and techniques and learn how to self-talk through difficult situations. Writing a birth plan can also ease fears, with women deciding on what interventions they want and whether medication is necessary or not. Choosing where to have the baby, whether at home or in a hospital, is essential to feel comfortable and improve the odds of having a successful birth.

Surround yourself with people who have a positive outlook on childbirth and can offer encouragement and support. If your fear is overwhelming or impacting your daily life, seek help from a mental health professional.




Remember, it's perfectly natural to feel apprehensive about giving birth. By understanding the relationship between fear and the nervous system, you can take steps to manage your fears and have a positive birth experience. Educate yourself, practice relaxation techniques, surround yourself with positivity and seek help if needed. Trust in the capabilities of your body and the support of your healthcare provider to bring your little one into the world.


The OMBRE birth method is about optimizing the birth experience through mindfulness, balance, and evidence-based practices. By providing mindful, balanced, reliable, and evidence-based care, this method helps women optimize their births. Together with these strategies, women can overcome their fears and enjoy an empowering birthing journey with confidence and security.



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