Pregnancy is an experience full of unknowns. Even if you’ve been pregnant before, each pregnancy is new and different.
With that can come worries and anxieties about everything from changing family dynamics to your changing body, and even being terrified of stillbirth.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Is It Normal to Be Worried About Stillbirth?
- Tips for Calming Yourself When You Feel Terrified of or Worried About Stillbirth
Stillbirth is a pregnancy loss that occurs after 20 weeks gestation. This happens in about one out of 167 pregnancies. Some risk factors can increase someone’s chances of having a stillbirth, like pregnancy over the age of 35, smoking tobacco or using illicit substances, having high blood pressure or diabetes before pregnancy, having multiples, and using assistive reproductive technology.
Knowing all this can leave the worry looming in the back of your mind, but you owe it to yourself and your baby to know what tips to turn to help calm your fears. Read on for calming tips for when you feel terrified of stillbirth.
Is It Normal to Be Worried About Stillbirth?
Like we said, even if you’ve been pregnant before, each pregnancy is a new experience that can bring up different worries and anxieties.
Being worried about stillbirth is entirely normal because you care deeply about the outcome of your pregnancy and the health of your baby. Feeling worried about a stillbirth occurring is nothing to be ashamed about.
Your worry may be increased if you have experienced a prior stillbirth or pregnancy loss, know someone who has, or if you have a predisposition to anxiety.
Worrying is normal, but it also means you should take extra care to calm yourself when you do feel worried.
Tips for Calming Yourself When You Feel Terrified of or Worried About Stillbirth
When it comes to calming yourself when you feel worried about stillbirth, it helps to have both immediate tools for when an acute case of worry comes on, as well as long-term tools for supporting you throughout your pregnancy.
Here are some calming tools to turn to:
1. Have a go-to person
Who do you feel most comfortable going to when your worries feel like too much for you to handle? Think of someone that you feel completely comfortable with and supported by—that’s your go-to person.
Have a conversation with the person about whether it’s within their comfort zone for you to turn to them when you’re feeling worried, and what you need from them when you’re feeling that way.
This person could be a close friend, a spouse or partner, a family member, a fellow parent-to-be, or someone you meet on an online forum or group.
2. Normalize it
Stillbirth does happen, and in most cases, it’s unavoidable or difficult to determine the cause. Like any sort of death or loss, it is a heartbreaking part of life—and one that needs to be discussed.
Normalizing discussions and education around pregnancy loss can help it seem less foreign, and give you resources and support for when you’re feeling worried.
This can look like connecting with other pregnant people who may have the same worries, or even with people who have experienced stillbirth to learn from their stories. It can also help to read books about pregnancy loss like Baby Dust by Deanna Roy, Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper, and Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande.
3. Check the essentials
Worries can creep up even more when our essential needs aren’t being met. Are you hungry? Do you need a nap or some rest? Are you hydrated?
Growing a baby is hard work, and your body may need a lot more rest and replenishment than usual. While fulfilling these essential needs won’t necessarily make your worries go away, feeling regulated can help you feel calmer overall.
So if you’re feeling worried, it may help to start by grabbing a hearty snack and putting your feet up for a bit.
Here’s a hot tip: always keep snacks on hand!
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4. Connect with Your body and baby
Connecting with your body and the baby growing inside of it can help you get out of your head.
Connecting with your body can look different for everyone. Maybe you have a movement practice that you like such as dancing, hiking, or gentle weight lifting. Or you can use one of the self-care tips listed below or by meditating.
Another way to connect with your body and baby is by talking to them. Tell them what’s on your mind, ask your baby what it needs, and build on the incredible connection to the life growing inside you. Sometimes saying things out loud can help stop the chatter in our minds.
5. Have something to hold onto
Sometimes we need something tangible to hold on to, to help bring us back down to earth. This can be especially true if you’re stuck in your head with worries about stillbirth.
Try keeping a small, discrete object in your pocket or purse that you can hold or rub when you need extra reassurance.
It could be something you already have or a new object, and it doesn’t have to be related to your baby. This could mean a crystal, a lucky talisman, a sentimental piece of jewelry, or something else.
6. Take time for self-care
Self-care is essential when you’re doing the difficult job of growing a human.
Every act of self-care you take helps keep you more calm and regulated, which will hopefully decrease your overall stress and worries.
Self-care looks different for everyone. Here are some tools you may like:
- Getting a prenatal massage
- Taking a bath with Epsom salts
- Eating your favorite meal
- Spending time outdoors
- Taking a walk
- Spending time with your family and pets
- Journaling about your feelings
7. Take prenatal classes
Prenatal or childbirth education classes help prepare expecting parents for the journey ahead.
These classes are full of valuable information about what is going on inside your body. Knowing the science behind growing a baby can help ease anxieties by answering questions and connecting the dots.
This also gives you an automatic support system by having someone to discuss your worries with and being able to meet other expectant parents.
You may also want to consider hypnobirthing classes. This birth technique is essentially a form of meditation that is either self-induced or facilitated by a trained provider who can be present at your birth.
These classes can be found locally as well as virtually for more accessibility.
8. Support your health
You can help support your body and baby by doing things that help your overall health. Everyone’s needs for supporting their health are different, and there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to health during pregnancy.
Here are some ways you can support your health while pregnant:
- Eat heartily, nourishing meals that your body is craving
- Drink plenty of water and fluids
- See a prenatal provider like a chiropractor, acupuncturist, or herbalist
If you feel like you need further support than your medical provider is offering, many midwives offer prenatal services without having to hire them to attend your birth. This can give you another layer of support, and someone to talk to about your worries.
Don’t forget that one of the best things you can do for your health is often just simply resting. Try taking a break from the screen and to-do lists and give yourself space for true relaxation.
9. Hire a doula
A doula is someone who supports people through life’s biggest transitions. Typically doulas work in birth or postpartum, and many are also skilled in providing care around loss, including pregnancy loss.
Doulas are not medical providers, and may or may not be trained with a specific organization. They offer physical, emotional, mental, and oftentimes spiritual support for people during pregnancy and birth.
Having a doula means having someone to turn to who can answer your questions and provide real-time support when you’re feeling worried. Doulas have a variety of resources and tools to further support you and can be an invaluable support system during your pregnancy.
If you want to find a doula in your area, you can try the Doula Match website, do a Google search, or ask around on social media.
10. Try meditating
Meditation can help regulate your thoughts and increase your overall well-being. Having a meditation practice can help lower your worries about stillbirth and give you a tool to turn to when you’re feeling especially anxious.
Expectful is a meditation platform for fertility, pregnancy, and parenthood. You can start your meditation practice by downloading their app.
11. Seek mental health support
If you are truly terrified of stillbirth to the point where it’s interfering with your daily life, it may be beneficial to seek professional mental health support.
There are licensed psychologists, therapists, and counselors who specialize in prenatal care, postpartum support, and pregnancy loss. A trained professional can help you by letting you talk through your worries and giving you practical tips about how to support yourself through your pregnancy.
11 Calming Tips for When You Feel Terrified of Stillbirth
Pregnancy is an exciting time, but with that excitement can come worries and anxieties.
If you are feeling terrified of stillbirth, know that you are not alone. Not only is this a normal thought, but there are so many tools and resources out there that you can turn to when you need support.
Remember to have tools that you can turn to if you’re in immediate need, as well as long-term techniques to help you throughout your pregnancy. You got this!
If you have experienced a pregnancy loss, we are here for you. Here are some tools to turn to if you’re coping with a miscarriage or stillbirth.
- “How Common is Stillbirth?” National Institute of Health. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. 1 December 2016, nichd.nih.gov.