Pregnancy and Birth

When you discover you are pregnant, a certain degree of stress and anxiety is to be expected - whether the pregnancy was planned or unplanned, the implications of a positive pregnancy test can be overwhelming.

While this is a normal experience for many, there can be times when these feelings build up to such a level that they cause antenatal depression and other mental health issues.

You may feel as though now is the time to prove yourself as a 'multitasking hero', but in reality this is the time when you need support the most. Getting support and developing coping mechanisms can help transform a time of stress and anxiety into one of excitement and joy. For some an unwanted pregnancy or unexpected miscarriage can create considerable distress

Feeling anxious about your baby's health, the birth and your ability as a parent are all perfectly natural. If these feelings begin to get in the way of your happiness however, it may be time to take action.

Common symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Feeling on-edge all the
  • Anxiety/panic attacks
  • Avoiding people/situations
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Anxiety, stress and depression often go hand in hand, with one leading to another if not treated.
  • Anxiety towards the birth

Giving birth is no longer an act shrouded in mystery - thanks to TV shows like One Born Every Minute we can watch the birthing experience in its entirety. For some this is helpful, for others it only confirms fears of complications

Of course, if you are pregnant with your first child it is normal to have some anxiety about the birth. It is something you will have never experienced before and understandably you will be unsure of what to expect. Even if you have had children before, worrying about things going wrong in the delivery room is still common. This could be due to previous experiences, friends’ experiences or reading about long, painful births in the media. Whatever your reasons may be, for some the thought of giving birth becomes almost a phobia.

To cope with this type of anxiety it is recommended that you arm yourself with information. Speak to a medical professional with experience, they will be able to tell you about possible complications, how likely it is that they will happen and exactly what the midwife/doctors will do in that situation.

The important thing to remember is that every birth is different and just because your friend/cousin/sister had a difficult labour, it doesn’t mean you will too.

Try to learn some relaxation techniques such as deep breathing to control your anxiety. Reaching out about your fears before your due date will give you time to trace your concerns, gain information and develop a coping strategy before the birth.

Coping with a traumatic birth

For the majority of people childbirth is an extraordinary event, for others it can feel traumatic due to complications during labour, or unexpected deviations from the birthing plan. Sometimes even when everything goes according to plan, the experience can be such an overwhelming one that mothers are left feeling traumatised.

Coping with this can be difficult and may require the help of a therapist who can talk through these feelings. Being fully informed about exactly what happened is key to dealing with the event - for many mothers their emotions and feelings run so high during labour that memories of the birth get skewed. Getting a detailed account of the labour from your midwife or doctor can help you put things into perspective.

At Castle Counselling Services we can offer you the safe space you need to explore your concerns. If you have experienced a traumatic birth, our counsellors can work with you to Speaking to explain some of the panic-based reactions and over time hopefully to work towards desensitising your trauma.

Who can help you?

Counselling services in the North Coast Causeway area of Northern Ireland, we can offer you an initial telephone consultation for 15/20 minutes free of charge for you to discuss the reason you are seeking counselling.