Why women are becoming ‘too scared to give birth naturally’

New research has shown the reason why women are actually becoming 'too scared to give birth naturally'.

You know what they say. If you’re worried about your health, never Google it.

And it would appear that childbirth is another health related thing to add to the list of non-Googleables – as new research has shown that women are actually becoming ‘too scared to give birth naturally’.

New research has shown women are becoming increasingly frightened by the natural process, due to a wide range of available birthing horror stories online and on TV.

With women sharing their more traumatic child-birth experiences on online forums, and TV and film portraying increasingly graphic birthing scenes, it’s now believed that up to 14 per cent of all pregnant women are now affected by ‘tokophobia’.

Tokophobia is the medically diagnosesd fear or anxiety of the natural childbirth process, and is the most common reason women request an elective Caesarean.

The condition causes sufferers to experience fear, panic, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, trembling.

With actress Helen Mirren identifying as a tokophobic – highlighting that a graphic video of a woman giving birth scared her so much she never wanted to be a mother – the issue is becoming a widespread problem.

Even despite a range of new, calming birthing techniques such as hypnobirthing, mothers-to-be are not too posh to push – just scared.

pregnant woman

JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty

Catriona Jones, a senior research fellow and lecturer in maternal health at Hull University, was asked to investigate how best to treat women suffering from the condition by the local NHS perinatal mental health service team.

Following her research, Catriona highlighted the link between online accessibility and the issue: ‘It feels like there’s an element of it in social media.’

Catriona added that there is a lack of accessible content regarding the calmer aspects of natural birth.

‘If you go online and go on any Mumsnet forums there are women telling stories of childbirth and it was terrible and it was a bloodbath. That can be quite frightening for women.’

However, for those experiencing levels of tokophobia, a range of treatments are currently available – such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and gradual exposure to images of different, more calming aspects of giving birth.

What are your thoughts? Should we censor the stories of childbirth accessible online and on TV?

Words by Alice-Rose Perry