Graphic Birth Movies Make Me More Anxious

Our childbirth instructor keeps showing very graphic birth movies in class. I know they’re supposed to be helpful, but they're actually making my husband and me more anxious. What should we do about it?

Question:

I'm sure your teacher is trying to get you ready for what you will experience during labor by giving you a realistic picture of what childbirth looks and sounds like. If they're making you anxious,however, you may need to take a step back and try another approach.

I suggest you talk to your teacher privately about your experience with the films. Perhaps there isn't enough lead-in time before explaining what you will be seeing so that it all makes sense and there are no surprises) or debriefing time afterward (to talk about and ask questions about what you just saw).

Your childbirth educator may also be able to help you with any specific fears or concerns you have about birth that the films are triggering, and suggest some strategies for coping with those aspects of birth that you find especially challenging.

There is a lot of good that can come from watching carefully selected videos in class. Actually seeing women giving birth shows you that it can indeed be done! They also desensitize you to some of the unfamiliar looks and sounds of birth, so that when you experience them in person, they are less likely to be frightening. You also can often pick up lots of good ideas watching how other people cope with labor.

The bottom line is you're absolutely right -- birth videos are not for everyone. You certainly can quietly excuse yourself during the films, or make a conscious choice to zone out or take a nap while they're shown. (Just don't snore!)

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