Extreme Fear of Giving Birth

I am in my third month of my first pregnancy and am scared to death of giving birth. I just don't know how I will bear it and very few people are sympathetic (including my doctor!) Is it normal to have such fears?


Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

Yes, it is very normal to fear labor and birth, largely because it is an unknown. In America today, we shield ourselves and our children from death and birth.

My recommendation would be for you to try to ignore the lack of sympathy and speak about your apprehension openly. This is the only way to perhaps connect with those who will admit to having the same feelings. You can talk about what was frightening to them and how they may have dealt with it. Of course, be prepared for some "horror stories" as well.

You need to have the ear of a supportive person as well. You may find a nurse midwife or a direct entry (lay) midwife to be supportive. To find a nurse midwife in your area, contact:

American College of Nurse-Midwives
818 Connecticut Ave. NW Suite 900
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 728-9860
(202) 728-9897 FAX

A "doula" is another option. This is a woman who will talk to you, provide birthing advice and companionship and assist you at the time of birth. To find a doula, contact:

Doulas of North America
1100 23rd Ave. E
Seattle, WA 98112
Fax: (206) 325-0472

You may also find it helpful to contact a Bradley or Lamaze teacher in your area. Attend a series of classes and even volunteer to be a birth companion yourself to a woman or a teen who needs someone to hold her hand. There is nothing like being to help another woman at a bith to help put fear into perspective.

Article Reviewed: February 6, 2001

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