How To Make A Hospital Birth Less Scary

Nosocomephobia (no-so-comb-phobia) is defined as the excessive fear of hospitals.

This is a very common fear that people have. Perhaps you’ve had a bad experience yourself in a hospital, or maybe you lost a loved one in one, but generally speaking people don’t often feel too comfortable and relaxed in a hospital setting.

With approximately 98% of births occurring in hospitals though, there’s bound to be some crossover there. On the long list of fears that pregnant women might have, hospitals do not need to be one of them!

When fear arises in our bodies, we stop producing the amazing hormone Oxytocin which is needed for birth, and instead produce Cortisol & Adrenaline, which can actually hinder birth.
This leads to the fear-tension-pain cycle or failure-to-progress. That is the opposite of what we want to happen!

A birth centre is an awesome middle-ground choice between a home birth and a hospital birth, but if there isn’t one near you, or if you prefer to birth in a hospital for whatever reason, we’re going to look at some ways to make a hospital feel less scary.

Ways To Enjoy Your Hospital Birth

Lights

It’s really the little things that we tend to forget about, but actually make a huge difference. Keeping the lights dim in your room makes the atmosphere more enjoyable, especially if you add some electric candles into the mix! I always keep some in my birth bag as it just adds a nice touch to the space (and flame candles are obviously not permitted for safety reasons).

Scents

If any of you have a super sensitive sense of smell like me, you’ll know all about that hospital smell. It’s not even necessarily bad, but it just smells like a hospital, not pleasant. A great way to counter this is to use essential oils. Lavender is a great scent as it’s very calming & soothing, or Jasmine as it helps strengthen contractions. Just be sure you’ve consulted with an aromatherapist for safest use.

Items From Home

I was the type of kid who would always bring her own pillow to sleepovers. It’s comforting because it reminds you of home, and even smells like it! It’s much easier to feel comfortable in a place if you have your own comforts so feel free to bring your own pillow/pillowcase, throw blanket, photographs; whatever you need! (Just be sure to take it home after and not let it go into the hospitals laundry!)

Clothing

You are under no obligation to wear a hospital gown! It might make some people feel like a patient, like they’re sick, and that can bring many negative emotions. It is your birth, and no one cares. You can go completely naked it that’s what feels right for you, or bring a nightgown/undergarments from home.

Music

I always bring my bluetooth speaker to births just in case my clients didn’t, but think they do want to listen to something. One client listened for hours to the sounds of ocean waves while she rocked back & forth on the birth ball, before wanting to switch to some night-time jazz. It definitely helps to hear familiar, enjoyable sounds rather than the beeps and blips of monitors and machines.

Knowledge is Power

The more you know, the more prepared you are. Usually knowing how something works takes away it’s power. Know your options. If you’ve opted for an epidural for example, know how it works before hand. If you have a doula, she’ll walk you through how the procedure goes so you know what to expect.

Have a Doula

A doula will remind you of all of this when you create your birth wish-list, you’ll plan what to take with you, and you won’t have to lift a finger when you get to the hospital. She’ll hold the space for you, and make sure you feel comfortable. She will also remind nurses to keep their voices low, and to keep the door shut!

How did you make your hospital birth less scary, am I missing any points? Let me know in the comments!