The discussion of obstetrical complications with the pregnant woman in the prenatal setting is discussed with reference to current knowledge of psycholinguistics and indirect hypnosis. The author suggests that pregnant women are often given didactic information about obstetrical complications in such a manner that they are frightened and not reassured, and that, behind the request for information about complications of birth is a request for emotional support and help in dealing with the normal fears of pregnancy that are sometimes not addressed in the prenatal care setting. The author proposes that discussions of birth complications have the effect of improving the woman's ability to cope by helping her to develop her inner resources for coping with the unknown potential actualities of birth. Discussion of birth complications should decrease rather than increase stress and fear. Attention to principles of psycholinguistics can help the nurse-midwife actualize her intentions to be helpful in this important task of discussing complications.