Why So Scared?

There has been a lot in the news recently about Tokophobia – that is, fear of childbirth to you and me. Take a look at these recent posts:BBC NewsHuffington PostIt’s no wonder more and more women are fearful of childbirth. If you believe everything you hear in the press, giving birth is a traumatic, painful and undignified experience that women are forced to suffer. We hear horror stories about tearing, episiotomy, emergency Caesareans and dangerous complications. Combine that with the constant updates on the shortage of midwives and the pressure on our maternity services. It’s no wonder mums to be are quaking in their boots.During my experience as an obstetrician I delivered hundreds of babies and met hundreds of mums who were rigid with fear and some of whom were emotionally out of control. My work involved transforming their fears and apprehension to positive anticipation of a gentle birth.Growing up in Sri Lanka and in India, I had the impression, that giving birth is what our bodies were created for. It’s natural with manageable levels of pain.When I came to England I was struck by a whole new cultural attitude that women have developed here to childbirth and most of it was fearful and negative.Most probably this fear stemmed from the fact that mothers feel very much on their own in our society.From my own point of view, I cannot imagine being in labour with strangers who do not know who I am or who just treat me like “a case” with machines doing all the monitoring. I believe that for a mother to experience a gentle birth they need the appropriate right kind of support and advice. Stuff that works!In my book, I teach mothers to be how to get over their fear and use self hypnosis and visualization techniques to help them stay calm and relaxed. Using these methods can help reduce the need for medical intervention, the risk of tearing and the need for Caesareans.This calm and gentle method, might not make for TV viewing, but there is a lot to be said for a relaxed mother, a gentle birth experience and a happy baby.