While some women have absolutely no fear of childbirth, there are others who are so afraid of it that they choose not to have kids. It is totally normal for women to have this fear, and it isn’t anything new either. However, as researchers look into what women feel about pregnancy and giving birth, they’re learning more about the fear of childbirth and the fact that it isn’t merely about pain.

Fear and Depression

According to BMJ, having a fear of giving birth can really affect a woman’s well-being and mental health, to the point that it affects her decisions while she is pregnant.

On top of that, even in those women who don’t have a history of depression, if they are afraid of giving birth, they’re almost three times more likely to end up with postnatal depression.

Depression and other emotional side effects might also occur if a woman experiences less than ideal conditions in the process of giving birth. For example, if she isn’t able to follow her preferred birth plan, or if her doctor isn’t compassionate enough, or if the labor process is especially difficult, this could lead to emotional and mental ailments.

No wonder so many women are afraid of giving birth—there are quite a few things that can make the experience less than ideal!

A Reluctance to Open Up About This Fear

While it is surprisingly common for women to experience fear of childbirth, they may not be so ready to open up about their feelings. For a lot of women, they might feel like they are experiencing something wrong because pregnancy is always portrayed as a happy time that a woman looks forward to.

If a woman were to reveal that she was frightened, rather than thrilled, with the idea of giving birth, she might be looked down upon, and that’s what keeps her from speaking up.

When these women bottle up their emotions, they might end up exhibiting other negative emotions, such as anger, later on in their pregnancy. They might even ask for a c-section. And, unfortunately, doctors may not respond with understanding when interacting with these women and their requests.

If You’re Experiencing Fear of Childbirth, Speak Up

If you’re one of the many women who is experiencing fear during her pregnancy, or if you are feeling negative emotions after giving birth because it was traumatic for you in some way, don’t hesitate to speak up and ask for help. As more doctors begin to understand the need to be open to women who have fear of giving birth, more compassionate care will be provided.