What Can I Do if I’m Afraid of Giving Birth?

Being afraid to give birth is understandable. Whether you’ve seen movies with women screaming in pain or heard horror stories from friends or family, giving birth can seem like a scary experience.

However, the more you know about something, the less scary it becomes. This article will highlight the basics of how birth works and techniques for managing pain during the process.

Or, if you’re looking for free pregnancy resources and a safe space to talk, contact ALC Pregnancy Resource Center today. All appointments are confidential.

What Happens During the Birthing Process?

Movies can make it seem like your water breaks and the baby arrives shortly after, but there are actually three different phases of labor: early labor, active labor, and the delivery of the baby.

Early and Active Labor

Early and active labor are all about dilating and effacing (thinning out) your cervix in preparation for your baby to move through the birth canal and out through your vagina. This process happens through uterine contractions (which is essentially your uterus contracting or tightening).

Early labor can actually begin days or even weeks before you deliver the baby. During this stage, your contractions grow increasingly regular, closer together, and more painful. You will usually spend early labor at home. According to Mayo Clinic, the following techniques can help you manage this phase:

  • Go for a walk
  • Take a shower or bath
  • Listen to relaxing music
  • Try breathing or relaxation strategies taught in childbirth class
  • Change positions

Active labor begins once your cervix is dilated to 6 cm. This phase is typically much quicker than early labor, and the pain is also usually much more intense. If your water didn’t break during early labor, it will break (or need to be manually broken by your physician) during this phase.

While each contraction can feel much more painful during active labor, it’s essential to remember that every contraction is purposeful and brings your baby one step closer to being born.

Mayo Clinic offers these suggestions for managing this phase of labor:

  • Change positions
  • Roll on a large rubber ball (birthing ball)
  • Take a warm shower or bath
  • Take a walk, stopping to breathe through contractions
  • Have a gentle massage between contractions


Birth is the final phase of labor—this is when you will deliver your baby! Birth begins when your cervix has dilated to 10 cm, and it’s the pushing phase of birth. Your physician will instruct you to push with each contraction. This stage can take anywhere from a few pushes to an hour or more.

After delivering the baby, your physician will deliver the placenta. Many women are so caught up in the moment that they don’t even notice the placenta coming out.

We’re Here for You

Pregnancy and the thought of birth can make you feel many emotions at once, but you’re not alone as you navigate it all. We’re here for you.

Contact us today to schedule a free, confidential appointment to learn all about all the ways we can support you.

*We have two locations for your convenience: 711 Henry Clay Street, Shelbyville, KY; (502) 647-0300 368 N. Buckman Street, Shepherdsville, KY; (502) 212-2535