Begin by assessing the situation.
- What recently happened that may have affected the mother?
- What has changed?
- What information did she just receive?
Once you understand what the mother may be struggling with, begin reassuring her and encouraging her in the opposite direction. Unless her fear is based in the reality of failing health in the baby, tell her the truth about the situation to help her overcome her fears. (She should still be told the truth if the baby’s health is failing, however this will not help her to overcome her fears. In this case, it may be impossible to overcome her fears.)
Don’t try to “reason her out of it.” She doesn’t have the energy to argue with you. Simply offer her a different way of seeing things.
For example, if the mother is accepting procedures she didn’t want, remind her about her birth plans. Ask her if she gave a copy to the nurse and remind her that she has the option to accept or refuse any treatment. Remind her of her options. Give her ways to regain control such as telling the nurse when she is ready instead of waiting for the nurse to say it is time.
By paying attention to the mother’s mental state, the labor support person can help even the most prepared mother overcome the challenges of fear in labor.