Pregnancy involves way more injections and blood draws than anyone cares to admit. Testing and labor management all require you to sit through a few shots, and the epidural experience involves an especially infamous needle. For women with a fear of needles, this unavoidable process quickly gets petrifying. Luckily, many people before you have gone through this and learned ways to make the process a bit easier to handle.
Be Honest With Your Healthcare Team
The most important thing you can do to help you get through a fear of needles during pregnancy is to be honest about your fear with your physicians, nurses, and even your birthing doula. It’s tempting to smile and nod when you hear those dreaded words, “now you’re going to feel a pinch”, but know that nurses can adapt their own strategy to accommodate your anxiety. They can adjust the language they use, how fast they give the shot, and even where they stand in the room to ensure that your stress levels stay as low as possible each time.
Ask To Use Numbing Creams or Ointments
There’s no shame in asking for a little help. While it won’t get rid of the visual of the needle or some of the weird feeling injections and blood draws cause, numbing cream can go a long way to stop that initial pain and give you some control over the situation. Many numbing creams are available over the counter, so don’t hesitate to just bring one with you and ask to use it. Some offices may even have their own numbing cream on hand.
Take Care of Yourself Before Heading to the Appointment
One of the biggest downfalls for people struggling with anxiety of any kind is worrying too much. If you know you have a prenatal care visit coming up where you’ll be completing your maternal blood draw, it’s easy to spend the night before fretting.
If you don’t get great sleep that night or opt to skip a morning meal that day, you’re setting yourself up for an even worse experience. The brain needs to refuel to help you focus and overcome anxiety, so be kind to yourself and remember to give your brain the tools it needs to successfully get through the stick.
One tip on how to get through a fear of needles during pregnancy is to try to make it easy for your nurse to get the stick done with as fast as possible. You can help to avoid hidden veins by drinking plenty of water hours before your visit. While you may not be able to relax in the way that your nurses will ask you to, staying hydrated makes it that much easier for them to get their job over with.