Navigating Hope and Fear

While it is completely normal to feel stress or fear around pregnancy, labor, and parenthood, remember that hope and joy are important parts of your journey too. Take this time to ask the questions on your mind, create a birth plan, and prepare for the newest addition to your family — you got this!

  • It’s normal to experience stress and anxiety in pregnancy, birth, and postpartum
  • Methods of finding joy, excitement and hope even when nervous or scared.
  • The importance and impact of support to navigate fears and anxieties.
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Terms in this Chapter

to open. Typically the birthing person’s cervix will begin dilating in the last weeks of pregnancy; in labor the cervix will dilate to about 10 cm to let the baby out.


OB is short for obstetrician and GYN is short for gynecologist. An obstetrician is a healthcare professional who delivers babies and provides pregnancy-related care, while a gynecologist is a healthcare professional who specializes in vaginal care and reproductive health


illness, injury, or poor health


an acronym that stands for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, a location in some hospitals where babies who need special medical attention can receive it


a bodily response to maintain health or promote normal function

Birth worker

someone who is professionally trained to be a resource for information about pregnancy and childbirth who also cares for the well-being of pregnant people; a general term that usually includes midwives, doctors, and nurses who care for birthing people as well as supportive team members such as doulas or lactation consultants

Birthing person

the person who will give birth to the baby. See also birthing person; pregnant person

Culturally aligned care

care that honors and integrates a person’s cultural identity and preferences, provided by people who share the culture or are knowledgeable and respectful of the culture


a trained professional who provides physical, emotional and informational support before, during and shortly after birth (birth doula) or in the postpartum period (postpartum doula). Doulas with full-spectrum training may also support people during and after pregnancy loss or abortion. Doulas do not have medical training, are not medically licensed, and do not provide medical advice.


happening during pregnancy or related to pregnancy

Group care model

prenatal care in a group setting with other people who are at a similar stage of pregnancy. In this model, you can learn from and build relationships with other expecting parents who are going through a similar experience.

Integrated model

a model of care where midwives and doctors work closely together for care of patients with both low- and high-risk pregnancies.


a licensed healthcare professional trained to provide reproductive and primary care including care during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. Midwives specialize in low-risk pregnancies and well-person care, and may collaborate with physicians and other healthcare providers in the care of people who need advanced medical care or surgery.


after childbirth


before birth / during pregnancy


a trained healthcare professional who diagnoses patients and provides treatment. Includes doctors, midwives, nurse practitioners, and physicians assistants.

Support people

anyone in the pregnant person’s life whose purpose is to physically or emotionally support them