Feeling Anxiety During Pregnancy? Or Anxiety About Birth? I Did Too…


Feeling anxiety during pregnancy and having anxiety during birth is oh so normal. Don’t worry, you’re in great company! Didn’t anyone tell you? Everyone has anxiety during pregnancy and at least a little anxiety about birth. Everyone.

Yep, it’s true. Having anxiety during pregnancy is part of the journey. Don’t believe me? Check this out…

Even our Labor & Delivery nurse friend (she’s helped deliver over 3,000 bambinos) told us that she, of all people, was super nervous about her own pregnancy and birth! The truth is everyone feels like a mess at times. But why?

Because anxiety during pregnancy and anxiety about birth affects everyone. And you’d be in the ultra-minority if you had no fears, doubts, hesitations, melt-downs or concerns about pregnancy and birth. Pregnancy hormones alone are enough reason to have any of the above. 

Think about it. Any major “life event” you’ve  had and any super important thing you’ve ever came with some nerves. 

“The absence of fear is not courage. The absence of fear is mental illness.”

I don’t know who said that but seriously, were truer words ever spoken?

Anxiety means you have a pulse. Life is about to change in big ways. Give yourself some grace mama! And even if you’ve been through the “having a baby” thing before, most moms have jitters come back.

But anxiety during pregnancy doesn’t have to dominate you.

What’s the real reason we want to acknowledge and nip our anxiety during pregnancy and anxiety about birth in the bud? 

The answer is because “how” we handle our nerves during pregnancy is how we’ll handle our nerves during childbirth. And even how we’ll handle our nerves as parents. We’re training ourselves to nip all the irrational fear and get rid of all the unnecessary stress we create in our own mind. Who the heck wants that stuff?

What’s crazy is what we actually tell ourselves. You know what I mean? We tell ourselves over & over why we’ll come up short. Why we can’t do it. Heck , if others talked to you the way you talk to yourself, you’d slap ’em. You would. You’d slap ‘em good and silly.

So What Do You Do?

Acknowledge your anxiety during pregnancy. Then expose it for the fraud that it is.

Get to know it. Pretending it doesn’t exist while thinking “I’m strong, I can handle this” is the worst thing you can do. Thinking your doctor or midwife will make all the decisions for you will never help you have less anxiety during pregnancy or less anxiety about birth. Sure, you’ll feel better at first, but you’re putting a band aid over the main problem. For the rest of your pregnancy and  birth, you’ll be reacting to what everyone else wants you to do.You have to make decisions. Making decision (with your doctor, midwife, husband, or whoever) is the only way you’ll have less anxiety during pregnancy and birth. Even really small, tiny itsy bitsy decisions.

Making decisions is the secret sauce to fully bonding with baby.

That’s how you *really* feel committed, connected and “all in” as their mom to give them the best! It’s the stuff life is made of. It’s what most women look back on their entire lives & see with laser like clarity as “the most life changing moment of their lives.”  Unless you’re making decisions (with your provider) during pregnancy and for your baby’s birth, you’re giving your baby’s once in a lifetime birth to someone else. You’re on the sideline. 

Millions of moms have regrets because they let their anxiety keep them on the sideline. The source of their regret is not being more involved during pregnancy making decisions. 

Making decisions strips anxiety of it’s power.

Here are just a few common anxieties we have during pregnancy:

“I’m such a failure, I ache, I’m a hormonal biaaatch, I feel nauseous, I’ve gained all this weight, I’m done. I can’t do this, I’m such a loser, everyone else does it & I can’t even go to the grocery store without feeling like complete crap.”

“I’m afraid I’m going to miscarry. If I miscarry I’m such a failure & I’ll be totally embarrassed.”

“I’m not sure I can handle the pain. Oh god, I’ll never be able to do this. My baby is big & they’re telling me baby might get stuck. My body is gonna fail at birth. I can’t do this.”

How Does My Anxiety Affect My Baby?

Stress hormones called Catecholamines & Cortisol are the culprits (aka “fight or flight” hormones). They flow when you have anxiety during pregnancy or anxiety about birth. They increase your blood pressure to all your vital organs, they make your heart pump faster & they slow down functions that aren’t considered essential for survival. For example…

So there you are walking your wiener dog & jammin’ to some Black Eyed Peas when some scary-ugly big arss dog starts barking. Now he’s following you. And of course you say “stupid freakin’ dog, go away!” 

You know that **instant shot** of energy & alertness you get? Have you felt that instant alertness before? Those are your “fight-or-flight” stress hormones kickin’ in stat.

Your uterus is not considered an “essential organ” by your brain when you’re trying to out run that darn dog (like your eyes, ears & muscles would be when you’re physically trying to get away from that ridiculously dumb dog), so blood is pumped away from your uterus & to all those essential organs. When your uterus gets less blood, that means your baby gets less oxygen (because blood delivers your baby’s oxygen). Once you reach safety and calm down a bit, your blood reroutes back to your uterus, to baby & to all the other “non-essential” organs. Make sense?

The same thing happens during pregnancy, in labor & during birth.Your stress hormones don’t differentiate between that stupid dog or you feeling anxiety during pregnancy or anxiety about birth. 

In labor an example would look like this… woman is in labor, then anxiety is triggered for some reason (maybe the beep of a machine in the hospital or a new face walks in the room from nursing staff shift changeover)…stress hormones kick in pumping blood away from the uterus resulting in less efficient contractions and fewer contractions…less oxygen gets to baby…more muscular tension increases labor pain…more anxiety comes from the increased pain…this super common cycle continues as labor slows down (“labor stalls”).

Then we hear the nurse mention the words “labor stalling” or “failing to progress” and our anxiety shoots up again triggering more stress hormones. And we start to feel like we’re “failing.” Goodness! you’re not failing at anything, you’re bringing new life into the world!

So you’ve entered what is called  the “Fear-Pain Cycle”- your mental fear physically affects your body by disrupting & stalling your labor.

You can easily prevent this. (learn how to prevent it with Dr. Michelle Collins here)

Where Does the Fear Come From?

1. From products, people & professionals telling you what you should do. Products, some People & even a handful of Professionals use your fear. Fear has always been known as the best motivator. Why would they do that? Because that’s how some companies get you to buy more. They focus on your fear, then sell you their miracle solution. And that’s also how some people persuade you “their way.”

Other people have no idea they’re amping up your fear with their birth stories or cautionary tales. Nevertheless, you’re an easy target ‘cause everyone knows this whole baby dealio is overwhelming, confusing & there you are trying to find your way and make sense of it all.

Don’t take our word for it. Look at some of the marketing next time you’re in the ‘baby super store’.


Detox from people telling you what they want you to do and figure out what YOU want for you. And for baby. It’s simple. Ask good questions & your answers start becoming clear.

Dr. Susan Markel, a pediatrician & mom likes to say… “a mother’s instincts are worth more than a medical degree.” click to tweet

Your motherly instincts start with you asking what YOU want for you & your baby. What you think right now matters. What your gut tells you is important. It’s a lie to believe your instincts aren’t valuable right now.

You don’t need 10 years of being a mom to have mom instincts. True dat. You don’t need 10 years of being a mom to have mom instincts.

Instincts are nothing more than ALL your life experience compressed, summarized & instantly available to aid your wicked smart self in immediate decision making. Your mom instincts are kinda like a Zip Drive of life experience at your fingertips {with a little Wonder Woman or Bat Woman sprinkled on top}. It’s inexplicable why we know or feel something at times- but when we follow our gut, usually we don’t regret it.

If you just follow someone else’s direction for you, you completely ignore your set of values that guide you, define you & make you…you. If you ignore yourself & ‘your values’, you’ll be much less relaxed & have more fear, which we know is often the responsible party for complications (because of that whole fear-pain cycle thing). And you’ll be much less likely to have a satisfying birth experience.

It’d be like marrying ‘that guy’ because other people told you ‘that guy’ looked the best guy on paper. But you never felt anything for ‘that guy’…your heart lived, breathed & beat faster for ‘this guy’. Whattt?

Getting opinions is valuable, but at the end of the day…only you know what’s best for you. You need to decide. If you’re struggling with clarity, ask more questions & you’ll slowly figure your way through it. Everything is figure-outable.

*Moms say they have an easier time making decisions when they have a basic understanding of evidence based care.  

Not being educated & knowing what you want

If you don’t know what you want & why…you’re lost. If you’re lost, you’re always gonna be anxious and fearful. Fear comes from being unprepared & not expecting some uncertainty.

Moms often assume their pregnancy & birth will happen a certain way and their provider will “do everything” & make all the decisions. That false sense of security often backfires when labor takes a turn.

One mama needed a C-Section after she planned (& had her heart set) on a vaginal birth. She started to get super anxious, because she never educated herself on C-Sections. Learn a little now & that’ll surely help keep fear outta your kitchen. (we’re here to help you with that)

Another example: let’s say you hired a wedding planner & left all the decisions to them- you just showed up on the big day, not sure what was awaiting you when you walked in the door…wouldn’t you be a wee bit anxious, nervous & dare we say fearful? It doesn’t take a bridezilla to break into a cold sweat just thinking about that scenario!

Fear often comes from the questions never asked.

The Questions you ask now affect you & your baby today, tomorrow & every other pregnancy. Your choices for first baby are often the choices you’ll make for all your babies. That’s why it’s so important your provider is sharing with you the information you need {and want}.

Being prepared means you’re prepared to be flexible. Birth plans are an excellent way to figure out what your preferences are in birth, to chat with your spouse and a fabulous starting place for open communication with your provider, nurses, and other birth support.

A birth plan is not a must do script requiring rigid “compliance”. It’s a road map of where you’d like to end up. In the event there are detours or things just don’t go as planned, having already researched & thought through your options will be invaluable.

Birth plans can take any form you want- you can write them on a napkin, hand-write or type them. They can be in outline or paragraph form- really anything goes. The main point is you do it. We have a Guide to Writing your Birth Vision you can download here (premium members). Bottom line…birth plans really represent flexibility

What’s the SUMMARY of everything we talked about…

Fear is a sign. It signifies something is important to you. But if you let it drive your decision making (or lack thereof), you’ll lose the significance of that important event.

It’s 100% normal to have hesitations, anxieties or fears surrounding pregnancy & birth. You’re not alone. We all do. 

The important thing is to be honest about what they are (most are just bold faced lies that have crept into our minds throughout the years) & then give them a swift kick in the ace- and out the door.

Affirming yourself during pregnancy & labor is also super important. Saying things like “I was created to do this” or “My body is perfectly capable to birth my baby” are great examples. The mind body connection is real. That’s why top athletes in the world use these exact same mantras to get the results they want.

As one midwife said- “Everything comes out during labor. You can either deal with it then or deal with it before, but it will reveal itself.” So shed those fears before you get on board the childbirth train. You can do it mama!


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