19 answers

Is Fear of Death During Labor Normal?

Im sorry to be so morbid with this post, because I am extremely overjoyed that I am going to have a baby. I guess my problem is, is that I suffer from high blood pressure and also mild anxiety ( before pregnancy, and now during), so I keep thinking something terrible is going to happen to me when I go in to labor. I have even been collectiing all my old photos and journals and diaries and putting them in one area " just in case," so my daughter will have things to remember me by. I thought maybe it was nesting, but it seems a bit dreary. Is this normal? And does anyone have any tips on how to overcome these fears? Thank you so much for your time, honesty, and wisedom ( in advance!)

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(I answered this already, but Mamapedia wants me to log in. Hope this is not a duplicate.)

You are feeling a lot of love for your unborn baby, and you want to protect it. But then you are afraid you won't be around. I felt the same way when my due date was near. I think this emotion is part of the pregnancy process. You are thinking about the baby's welfare. Just do stuff that makes sense to you -- if it makes you feel better that you have done it, don't stress, just go ahead and do it.

2 moms found this helpful

I think yes. I recently found out that I am pregnant with my second child. I am ecstatic, but nervous/anxious. I am getting life insurance and trying to leave everything organize in case things go errie.
I pray and hope everything goes for the best; but better safe than sorry.
No, we are not morbid, just realistic.
Good luck! Keep up with your doctor appt. and guidance and I am sure everything is going to be fine :)

1 mom found this helpful

its weird i had my son at 41 and didn't think twice about dying..but i had a C sec..i was just so excited..in this day and age it would be hard to die giving birth..you need to concentrate on having a stronger attitude..like you're going to go in there and be a warrior about it :) to tell u the truth i was in labor and i didn't feel the contractions..it was so odd..i think i was just so excited..i asked the nurse.."am i even having contractions?" and she said.."are u kidding look at the monitor" and it was zig zagging all over the place..and they cut me open and put my uterus on my chest..so um..yeah..but i'm not 45..my son is almost 4...birthing is a short experience...you'll be fine..go in there like u mean business not afraid..go in there and have your baby you've been waiting your whole life to meet and don't fret about dying...if you're really afraid..go for a C sec..took them 15 minutes to get my son out..then 30 minutes to sew me back up..he was 10.2 lbs that's why my doc wanted to do a C sec besides the fact that she is a lazy Bev Hills doc...i don't go to her anymore..you'll be fine..i have low blood pressure..am older..i survived..easily..low blood pressure can be very dangerous but it didn't even make a dent..good luck!! get happy and change your mind set it will help you!

1 mom found this helpful

I had an unnatural fear of childbirth since I was 10 (maybe earlier). I must have overheard someone talking about the horrible pain, or something that just totally scared me. From that time, to the time I was about 20, I didn't want to go through with it because I was so scared. When I finally decided I was ready to have a baby, and then I got pregnant, I was still a little scared, but not like that. At the beginning of my pregnancy, I read about the labor and birth process, and how normal it is. I did a complete 180, and no longer had any fear because I knew what was going to happen, and I believed that my body could do it. I went on to have an awesome home birth (yes, at home and completely natural, for the woman who never wanted to go through the pain), and was not scared the entire time.

I think you should learn more about the process, maybe watch some videos that aren't negative (like the Business of Being Born, or a movie I haven't seen but have heard is really good, Orgasmic Birth). Almost everything about labor in our society is negative, and that's ridiculous. It doesn't have to be a scary experience, but most people say it is, and that just messes it up for everyone else. If you believe in yourself, and work on your fear, I think you will feel better. You also might want to try something like hypnobirthing, that should ease your fear of the labor, and should help during as well. I didn't do this, but I have a friend who had a baby recently and she loved it.

1 mom found this helpful

I also had anxiety my first PG that I would die during childbirth. I think is was hormone related. I talked to my MD about it and he put it very lightly..."well, if you were you to die it would ruin my day and yours". It sounds kind of callous the way that he said it, but it made me realize that it was something that I had no control of and I was wasting my time thinking about it. I guess I started to reason with myself that if I died during childbirth, I wouldn't know so I needed to stop focusing my energy on worrying. I also had anxiety about other family members passing away during my entire PG. So that is why I think it was hormone related. As soon as I had my baby my anxiety about death went away. Good luck...and you will be fine ( I have had 2 healthy boys).

1 mom found this helpful

Hi E.,
I started to experience these fears about a month before our son was born. I think part of it is hormonal and part of it is sleep deprivation. What you are experiencing is normal, just try not to allow yourself to focus on it. Just remind yourself that you will be in a hospital where you are well monitored and where this is VERY unlikely to happen.
Also, my anxiety over dying did not end after the baby was born. It ended up getting worse (this is a symptom of postpartum depression). If I can make any suggestions to prevent this from happening to you, I would suggest: Having someone come and stay with you for a month to help you out, try to get as many naps as possible, get out and get fresh air and sunshine daily for at least 30 minutes, and take supplements that contain fish oil. I discovered this product called Postpartum Omega Mom. It has nutrients that are helpful for breast feeding, are great for baby brain development, and help your mood.

1 mom found this helpful

Sadly this is completely normal. Your hormones are going crazy right now, which leads even the most stable women to rather extreme mood swings. You may even have some crazy nightmares as you get closer to your due date.

If you have been taking anti-anxiety meds, I would ask your OB if it is OK to continue. Regardless, I would start seeing a therapist or joining an expecting moms support group. You are not alone, although it may feel that way right now. Having a good support system in place will not only help you with your current feelings, but they will provide a safety net for you and your baby postpartum. Don't be afraid to reach out to friends and family, and don't isolate yourself!

Remind yourself that millions of babies are born every day without problems, that your fears are a result of normal hormone fluctuations, and reaffirm your trust in your doc and family. Finally, if things get really bad, remind yourself that worrying does nothing to prevent bad things from happening and that even if something were to happen, all you have is today and you should try to enjoy every moment you might have.

Hope that helps!!
Just remember you are not alone.

1 mom found this helpful

absolutely normal. I had dreams about the baby that scared me. Most people have anxiety of some sort in regard to the event to come. However, if this is on your mind a lot why not ask your doctor about a safe anti-anxiety. My guess is that would help with the blood pressure too.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi- I think that having a baby is a kind of death and subconsciously we know this. You will become a different person over the next year. Realistically, this is both exciting and terrifying! I can't believe how much my life has changed since having our two sons back to back. BUT- I am so happy I am having this opportunity. So maybe think of it this way- you are a wonderful caterpillar and in order to become a butterfly you are having to let the caterpillar go. It's a death, but don't worry, I think you will love your new life with your baby girl!

1 mom found this helpful

I had a fear of dying my entire life, including three pregnancies. My mom begged me to go on meds for anxiety. I refused. Then she told me how my cousin got over his. He prayed his way out of it. So I did the same. I prayed my way out of it. And, God revealed to me that I am going to die. I don't know when, but I am going to die. And, let's just say that I am going to die tomorrow and I cry and have a horrible day today. I have wasted my whole last day on earth. The devil won. Every second that you spend worrying about what you can't control, you've wasted valuable precious time on earth. I no longer fear death. I don't do crazy dangerous things, but I can ride the air tram at the zoo and fly to China for 13 hours with out any tears. It is a huge freedom and I hope you can accomplish it. Pray! God Bless! J.

1 mom found this helpful

I've never been pregnant but I've had several major surgeries and I also deal with chronic anxiety. I was anxious before all of my surgeries but the amount of anxiety decreased with each one. The doctor and nurses reassured me each time but I still felt that I had to get my life in order in case I died. I'm 67 and still very much alive and have learned ways to keep my anxiety away.

I've also been anxious before each long trip. Anything that is a major change and requires out of the ordinary and possibly dangerous action causes those of us with anxiety issues to be anxious.

So, I'd say it's normal for you to be anxious. I also think I've heard that high blood pressure can cause one to feel anxiety.

How to reduce the anxiety level? First and most importantly, talk with your doctor about it. He can reassure you by discussing the labor in relationship to you and your concerns. Do what he recommends to keep your blood pressure down and yourself healthy. Focus on being healthy. He may be able to prescribe a mild anti-anxiety medication that will help. Second, get involved in activities that will support your sense of well being and give you something else to think about. Whenever you start to think about all that can go wrong, remind yourself of all that will be right. Think of that beautiful baby and the love you will be giving her. Remind yourself that the odds of you dying are very minimal. Immediately replace all negative thoughts with positive thoughts.

You might be helped by hiring a doula or arrange to see a professional person more often than you would otherwise. Build your support system.

I've been concerned about myself having heart difficulties. I'm 67 and it seems that there is info everywhere about heart attacks and strokes. My doctor used a chart by putting in my information that gave me a 3% chance of having a heart attack or stroke. That combined with knowing my test results has reassured me and I feel secure in knowing that I won't die of a heart attack. 3% is nothing! I'm just facing the fact that I'm getting older and won't live forever. Oh, to be young again! lol

I wish that there had been anti-anxiety and anti-depression medication when I was in my 20's and 30's. I take both now and feel really good.
In addition to the medication I am helped greatly by having experienced many things and realize that most things about which I worried either never happened or when they did were not as bad as I expected. I can see that every experience has helped me to grow and mature to be the happy woman that I am now.

I have gained in confidence over the years. Confidence in myself and in others. I know that I can rely on my doctors when I'm involved in my care. I am a part of my health team. I ask questions until I feel comfortable with the answers. I've found it's especially important to have a professional person with whom to discuss my fears.

You will not die! Go ahead and put together information for your baby that you can share with him/her when she's older. Once that baby is here you won't have time to get photos and journals organized and both you and your child will thoroughly enjoy talking about your history, family, experiences and looking at pictures.

My granddaughter is now 9 and nearly every week she asks me something about my past. At the grocery store, last week, she asked if we could buy the brand of milk that had a picture of a cow on it because my grandfather was a dairy farmer. Of course I said, yes. lol I wish I knew where all of those old pictures are. I wish I had journals on which to draw to tell her stories. Our children want to know about us when we were "young." It is important for them to feel connected to the previous generations; to know that they are a part of something wonderful.

You are on the right path!

1 mom found this helpful

Hello- congrats on your pregnancy and you will do great during your labor! I had severe anxiety/fear during both of my pregnancy's that was so not typical for me. Prior to the pregnancies I never had anxiety attacks or panic attacks and I have never really had any irrational fears. However, in both pregnancies I constantly feared someone breaking into my home and taking me and/or my kids. It went as far as me huddling in a closet in the middle of the night calling out the police to search my house on more than one occasion. The good news is, as soon as my pregnancies were over these fears significantly diminished and eventually completely went away. I never took medication, I never got help, it just seemed to disappear which tells me it was definitely pregnancy related.

While it helps to know other women experience something similar to yours, if you don't feel like you can get past it or if it is beyond pregnancy I would go talk to a counselor and get some professional opinions.

Best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I think its a completely normal fear. I worried about dying during childbirth my entire pregnancy. I had two miscarriages before I had my daughter so I thought that was why I was so paranoid not getting to see this beautiful being that I worked so hard for. My doctor told me its not very likey to happen, i just prayed every night that god keep my child and I very safe! I was even praying when they took me into the OR. You will be fine. Keep your head up!

1 mom found this helpful

Normal or not, I did much the same thing.

Come to find, after the perfectly healthy (and pretty normal) birth of my son, I have a rare placental disorder (which caused my previous miscarriages). My placenta was over 20lbs at birth (well, now I know why it looked like I was carrying triplets, one 10lb baby, one 23? 24? lb placenta, & approximately 1.5 gallons of amniotic fluid... oy... I was as big as a house).

I've been since told to not not not get pregnant again, due to that disorder. I COULD, mind, it would just be very dangerous. So my fears/planning ended up being fairly justified.... BUT (of course another monkey wrench)...

In my family there is absolutely NO history of PPD. None. Huge family. Which is a statistical abnormality. But what there is, is another rare thing... "the suicide hours". Every day for approximately 1-3 hours a day starting from the second trimester the women in my family become massively depressed. Suicidally depressed. Of course, since we all know this, we just kind of grit our teeth, hold onto the chair with both hands, and wait for the miasma of wanting to die to pass.

Hormones and pregnancy can make odd things happen. Personally though, I wouldn't "stop" with your gathering of your life. At the joyous occasion of your child's birth... box them all up... label them as belonging to your daughter at the time of your death, date them, and mark them... my life before you came into it. She'll probably be an old woman before you pass... but what an amazing gift to recieve in a will. The story of your mother. She'll have heard bits and pieces growing up... but here will be a collection that you put together for her to know you in case the worst happened... so that you could be with her in spirit as she grew up.

Far from morbid, I think it's very beautiful.


1 mom found this helpful

I felt that way during both my pregnancies. I got through it by focusing on what was good and trying not to think too much about my fears. The funny thing is that during both of my labors, that was the last thing I thought about. I was so focused on getting through the contractions and getting the baby out that all my fears went away. Hang in there, I think you are completely normal. Go to birthing classes so you are educated and as prepared as possible. Honestly, I did hypnobirthing with the second baby and I really wish I had done it with the first one too. It helps keep you calm and relaxed! Good luck to you and happy, healthy birthing as well!

1 mom found this helpful

I feared death when I was approaching my due date. It did not help that I work in medicine, so I really know all that can happen during a delivery, having attended hundreds in the past. I think it is normal. I got over it by giving myself a little tough love -- first, reminding myself of all that I have to be grateful for, even if I don't survive; and second, forcing myself to face the fact that I have to have this child no matter what, period. Once I went into labor, I was caught up in the moment and forgot about "complications." I did face a wall of fear when the pain was incredibly intense, and I was not sure I could really deliver the baby on my own -- but, when I did, I felt tremendous relief and pride that I did it!

1 mom found this helpful

Totally normal. I was terrified the entire time I was pregnant that something terrible was going to happen. I finally realized that it was obviously irrational and I'd just have to deal with it. It was like a shadow that followed me the entire time I was pregnant. I made it thru delivery just fine.

1 mom found this helpful

I think it's quite normal to feel anxious - after all, it's a major event, physically, emotionally, and metaphysically. But our culture reinforces a lot of fears. It really helped me to get as much information as possible, and it was especially encouraging to read positive accounts of childbirth. "Adventures in Natural Childbirth" is a good one. Whatever the method -- with or without pain relief, induction, planned and emergency c-sec -- all the stories were positive, and it was reassuring to me.

Also good are:

Good luck and congratulations!

I'm so sorry that you're having that level of anxiety. There is very effective treatment for those kinds of fears. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is incredibly effective. I would encourage you to work with a therapist. It may be covered by your medical insurance and what you are describing can often be helped in a limited number of sessions. Good luck!

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