Birthing fears need to be recognised and dealt with

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Heidi Woodgate
birthing fears need to be recognised and dealt with

At the end of last year, the BBC reported the Royal College of Midwives call for fear of childbirth (tokophobia) to be recognised and dealt with more effectively.

Giving birth has long been portrayed as a traumatic ordeal by the media, and the medicalisation of the birth process has left women feeling powerless and out of control.

This feeling of being out of control just fuels fears of giving birth, and stress and fear about giving birth can make a difficult birth a self-fulfilling prophesy.

It’s no wonder that so many women feel anxious about giving birth and want to take back control by having a Caesarian section – even though this is a serious operation.

For some women, the fears about giving birth can develop into a full blown phobia.

Women who have experienced a traumatic delivery in which they had severe pain or tearing or in which they witnessed their baby in serious distress often cannot face the prospect of a vaginal birth.

Rather than looking forward to the arrival of their baby, they develop a morbid fear of pregnancy and the birth process. Labour wards can feel like ‘torture chambers’ and they feel their only option is to have a Caesarean section.

Studies show that in extreme cases, a small number of women abort their pregnancies rather than face the pain and trauma of childbirth.

With fear playing a huge role in pregnancy and birth, we’re 100% behind the RCM call for fear of childbirth to be recognised and dealt with more effectively. But more needs to be done!

While extreme fear of childbirth may need specialist one-to-one intervention, our Blissful Birth programme is an ideal way for expectant mothers to deal with birthing fears and prepare for giving birth.

Bye for now.

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