Anxiety about giving birth.
I just want to start by saying that it’s really not unusual to feel anxious about giving birth – particularly if this is your first pregnancy.
As I’m writing this, I’m heavily pregnant in the zone of 40 weeks. I don’t want to share the exact date. But my due date’s creeping up.
Bits of me feel like they’re about to fall out and I’m cranky as hell. And I can’t stop waddling.
I’m already bombarded with comments and “Is the baby here yet?” remarks.
NO. Baby is not here yet!
So the reason I feel compelled to write this is I know how easy it is to slip into being anxious in late pregnancy.
Especially if your due to date comes and goes (which it does in about 85% of women btw…)
Therefore, I wish to share some key things I’ve come to terms with this week while I find myself in this blissful state of knowing that our baby will be born very soon, yet savouring the last few days/hours of quiet time with the loves of my life so far – my husband and toddler.
Here are my realisations.
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Anxiety about giving birth is common
Anxiety is common in pregnancy altogether, to be fair.
Just being pregnant, with the hormones, the bodily changes, the check-ups, the discomfort, the comments from other people and everything else in between, it all adds up.
It’s important to tell your midwife and/or doctor how you’re feeling if you suffer from anxiety or other mental health concerns during pregnancy.
Often a simple explanation is enough to alleviate what you’re experiencing, or simply having someone to talk to is what you need.
We live in the most modern times due to advances in healthcare/pain relief/techniques/help on offer. Do not feel shy to ask for what you need or to talk about any concerns you may have.
Your due date doesn’t mean anything to your baby!
I’m saying this from all fronts, on behalf of someone who works professionally in ultrasound imaging as a sonographer, but also, as someone who coaches women (and mums in particular) to beat anxiety.
The due date you’re given is a stab in the dark guess at when your baby will be born.
It’s calculated in the UK as 40 weeks from your last period based on a 28-day cycle, and then later on your due date may change when you have a dating scan around the 12-week mark.
Some countries use 41 weeks for the due date, some even use a due month or due period which in my opinion is waaaaaay better for the mum’s anxiety levels.
Really try hard not to fixate on your due date, but see the period from 37- 42 weeks as ‘full-term’.
The 5 Week Window
This means your baby is more likely to be born anytime during this 5 week period (but may come later or earlier still.) A 5-week window, not a ONE DAY window.
If you go over your due date, congratulations!
You have a full-term baby who is only getting more and more nourishment from you whilst in the womb in normal circumstances.
In our case, we conceived this baby while I was breastfeeding our firstborn. And I know for a fact we didn’t conceive on day 28 because I hadn’t returned to anything close to a 28-day cycle by that point.
Also, just to prove how inaccurate dating scans can be… at a 10 week (ish) scan for this pregnancy I was told my due date would be December 13th, and then re-dated AGAIN to be taken back a WHOLE week and a bit at 12 weeks. So god knows.
The important thing is, your baby knows when he or she is ready to come.
So try and relax knowing soon enough your baby will be here.
The best thing and only thing to do during this period of late pregnancy is to treat yourself. Check out this list for some relaxing products you’ll enjoy.
Read a nice book, have loads of baths (every night for me!) and enjoy time to yourself before the big day arrives.
Snuggle up on the couch. Sleep when you need to. Whatever you fancy doing, do it. Oh, and there’s always chocolate.
Turn Off Notifications
Don’t let others add to your anxiety about giving birth. Turn off phone notifications, even turn off your phone, that’s my advice!
For the past few days, my phone has been pinging non-stop with “is the baby here yet?” messages.
And I’m pissed off big time (hi pregnancy hormones!) however, I’ve realised the intentions of these messages are good.
Try not to get irritated (says someone who’s irritated!) because it will only add to the concerns you may have.
Instead, see the intentions of these messages as hugely positive. People who love and know you.
They just want to know everything’s OK, that’s all.
At the same time though, you and your baby matter more than replying to these messages, so you’re very entitled to ignore them if you feel this is best for you and your mood and get on enjoying those last few days of peace and quiet.
Listen to positive affirmations and meditations. I can’t recommend enough reading these two books in pregnancy to help get your mind in the right state for birth.
If you’re feeling anxious you’re possibly doubting your abilities to give birth, which is down to years and years of medicated, televised birth stories, horror stories, women screaming for epidurals and what not.
But when you really allow yourself to understand the nature of birth, you’ll be amazed by it and empowered to do it!
I’ve given birth once before, and it was one hell of a euphoric experience.
Our bodies are designed to birth our babies. And our babies are designed to join us on this and to work with us to make it happen.
Believe me when I say that baby is working as hard as you do to meet you face to face!
By listening to positive affirmations, meditating and staying in the “I can do this” zone, you’ll be absolutely fine whatever type of birth experience you have. YOU CAN DO THIS!
I wish you well, beautiful mama and baby/’s x