Severe fear of childbirth..(24 Posts)
Really need some advice!
I'm 28 weeks pregnant with my first baby, I have always had a fear of childbirth. This isn't the usual anxiety associated with giving birth when the date is fast approaching this is a debilitating fear (constant tears, feeling physically sick and nightmares etc). I have been referred under Consultant care as I have a very broken coccyx and had a termination when I was much younger (I'm mid 30's now) which resulted in having to stay in hospital for several days as I hemorrhaged due to my cervix being extremely long and narrow.
The consultant and midwife are pushing me to have a VB but have offered a csection if I 'absolutely need to'. I've been told I need to try to relax but that is pretty much it. I really need more support and advice than I am getting, as it is affecting every area of my life. Has anyone else experienced this? Apart from being told to 'man up'! If it was that easy I would!
I went to my gp and mentioned my phobia at every single appointment.
my phobia is slightly different as it is needles/ loss of control/ escalating intervention.
I actually got referred to a hypnotherapist and for cbt which helped me hugely, and I had a sucessful birth
mention and push for it over and over again if it iswhat you want. iwould be very blunt about things if it was being pushed toward vb when I had wanted something else.
I honestly believe phobias should be a valid reason for cs as they should be looking out for your mental health as well as your physical well-being
if it makes you feel any better im now pg with dc2 and have not needed any additional therapy this time
good luck x
I wish you the best and I really hope you get the support you need. I'm having a somewhat complicated pregnancy and so I see a consultant every 4 weeks and the midwife on the normal schedule and I'm still struggling to get anyone to talk to me about seriously about my choices for labour despite all these appointments. I'm terrified of having the hormone drip and I want to know what they would do in each scenario that it might be used if I were to refuse it entirely. I feel it is hanging over me and the uncertainty seems really unnecessary so I'm going to try to follow the advice I'll give you and really force them to have a proper conversation. I plan to do this by writing down my concerns and the instructions on my care I intend to give and by getting them to go through it point by point. I will take notes in the meeting and ask them to repeat what they are saying if they go too fast so that I capture it all and they know that I am capturing it all. In the past I've found that I don't get all my points accross in the apointment or I don't remember exactly what was said. I'm emotional (it's a big deal for me) and they are not as it is their day job. I really feel this puts me at a disadvantage and so documenting it all is my way of evening up the scales. Rambling - sorry. I hope it is in someway helpful - good luck!
Hi Dot12 sorry to hear you're feeling like this. I'm nearly 23 weeks and have been panicking quite a bit this pregnancy - with nothing like such good reasons as you've got.
I've been listening to the Natal Hypnotherapy CD for the last few weeks - I don't really know if it will help during birth but it's certainly helping me to relax and calm down now - might be worth a try for you too!
If it helps, I was terrified too, nightmares, cold sweats everything, people laughed,but to me it was terrifying.
I ended up on hormone drip due to waters breaking twenty four hours before, however I knew I'd struggle and refused the drip until the epidural was in,they tried to coax me into it several times,but I just kept saying no, within sixty mins epidural was in. I won't say it was easy, and I had other midwives telling me if I put as much effort into pushing as i was yelling, my baby would be here quicker I think my yelled loudly response was "I fucking KNOW that,but it fucking hurts" needless to say I wasn't the best patient.
I was also worried about interventions as I was overweight, needed constant monitoring, had epidural and induction, but it was fine in the end.
Thank you for the responses.
Travelhappy, that is helpful, I will try doing the same and writing it down. I think perhaps I am not mentioning it enough!
Excuse my ignorance but what is the hormone drip?
Off to look at Hypnotherpy too!
Dot12, I had (have) it too - it's called tokophobia. I guess you just have to decide what you want - whether you want a CS or you want support to get through a VB (do you know which you want?) Do you have a helpful midwife you could talk it through with?
I really empathise with you - one midwife snapped at me "oh, everyone's nervous dear, you're no different!"
I had an ELCS with my 2nd and it made the pregnancy completely stress-free, knowing that I wouldn't have to go through a VB.
Tokophobia is now recognised by NICE as being a genuine problem and this is reflected in their guidance on CS. Midwives who come out with that shit about everyone being nervous, need retraining.
I don't know whether in your case, you are suffering from tokophobia, but in terms of 'manning up', that simply isn't going help everyone. That may well apply to you.
The good news is there is plenty of research being done around the world (not so much in this country, but that is starting to change) that supports the fact that exists and to what extend it affects women.
Its extremely misunderstood though, and if I'm honest about it, I think there are plenty of people with a vested interested (either professional, ideological or financial) to actively and wilfully ignore the issue and just make women suffering from extreme fear feel even worst as a direct result of their lack of empathy and understanding.
Regardless of how extreme your fear is, and what approach you take to deal with it, please do not beat yourself up about it or feel 'less of a woman' or otherwise as if you are inferior or weak. You simply aren't. Fear is legitimate and you should express your anxieties without worrying about how others might react to it. Medics should take you seriously and listen to you without prejudice, however stupid those concerns might sound to their ears.
If they fail to do this, they are failing in their job, not you failing in your role of becoming a new mother. This is the attitude above all else that needs to chance with regard to fear in childbirth; and that applies to women themselves and to health professionals.
Hi Dot12, as a fellow (former) tokophobia sufferer I went through the same 5 months ago. I think for me the worst bit was that nobody could understand my fear and I was told to man up....which normally just made me cry even more...
When I realised that I was pregnant I made sure to tell the doctor and midwife at my appointments about my tokophobia and hoped they could refer me for C section. I really thought that was the only acceptable way for me to give birth. However later I started researching about C sections and I got scared even more. It was a terrible feeling to realise that i didnt think I could give birth naturally and was terrified of C section too. What really helped me was reading, I really recommend Ina May Gaskins guide to childbirth, this is a bit hippy though. Nicole Crofts "The good birth companion" was very helpful and it changed my mind about natural childbirth a lot. In the last month I was still crying every day but when my contractions started I got excited that it will be over sooner or later and I have to say I had a very good experience, my labour was 8 hours and only the last 4 hours were very painful.
Try to make the decision if you want a C-section or VB. if you decide for C section push for it. If you want to try VB do everything to prepare yourself as best as you can, read and try the hypno birthing CDs.
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I had a distinct fear of giving birth with my second son after such a horrendous birth with my first son.
I used Maggie Howell's natal hypnotherapy CD and read the book and, to be honest, was quite skeptical. However, although I had to be induced for going 2 weeks overdue, I used the relaxation techniques/envisaged my cervix opening up like a beautiful flower and, I truly believe it helped me. I had the water birth I wanted (despite being under CLC), used only gas and air and had a quick, straight-forward birth.
I'm currently 8 weeks pregnant and will be dusting off the book/CD again.
Very best wishes!
yes I had it. for me the fear was vaginal delivery. wasnt bothered about tje pain of contractions or the pain I would be in after the event, more the actual pushing baby out so I opted for cs. it was def the right decision for me. as others have said, cbt might be an option for you? I would so as much research as poss and seek genuine input from professionals so that you are able to make an informed choice.
Have you thought about contacting an independent midwife?
I agree, professional support is so key and it was a huge motivating factor for me to team up with a very experienced independent midwife, who can offer very experience grounded advice and support.
Speak to your GP and ask to be referred to a mental health professional who can assess you for further treatment. Like someone already said, CBT or another type of treatment may be hugely beneficial.
Thanks everyone so much for the responses, its been a bit difficult to get on line!
I did think about an independant midwife but realistically I don't think we could afford it. I did a lot of research into using a Doula but decided that it wasn't really the answer. I am so pleased that there are some positive stories out there. I have an appointment with the midwife next week and my OH is coming with me to stress this isn't normal anxiety. I really feel for him having to 'put up with me', he deserves a medal and we still have a while to go.
Like Panda247, I have been reading up on csections and have scared myself. I was deadset on a csection a few weeks ago and now I'm not so sure. More than anything I want someone to recognise how awful I feel and offer me some help, advice and support. The evenings/nights are worse, I'll often be inconsolable and will be awake at 2/3 in the morning in tears reading about csections/natural births etc.
I am going to try to get referred to at the very least a Extra Support midwife or a mental health professional. At the same time I've been looking into hypnotherpy.
Witchesbrewandbiscuits, thinking about your comment, it is very much the same for me. Its the pushing and the crowning, possibility of tearing being cut etc. It is this part I'll often feel faint when reading and hearing about.
I can't wait to meet my daughter but I can't think passed the birth, the when and the how.
I had a section, it was great, not an easy option by any means, being awake during an operation is bizarre.
However I rarely think about the op now, and it was absolutely the right thing for me,
I don't think you should have to see a mental health professional!
Just wanted to say, I didn't really worry that much about childbirth with DS1 - I kind of bought into all the hippy dippy natural birth stuff and when I ended up having a very tough and draining, lengthy delivery it was a pretty awful shock to the system and I was very glad to be in a hospital rather than having a home birth out in the back garden or something!
However, it still really put me off (along with having had horrific HG) getting pg again, I couldn't even think about it until DS was 18 months and then when I did get pg again in June 2012 I ended up having mmc and needing erpc done, which did not improve my feelings of slight fear and dread towards hospitals and birth etc.
I'm due in 2 weeks time, though, and I originally considered asking for elcs but while I'm not exactly looking forward to doing it all again I do feel a lot more prepared about what to expect and how to handle it, and I've had a really good mw team throughout who I have gotten to know well since there's only 2 of them and one of them will be delivering the baby so that has made things easier this time round.
Ultimately only you know what the right decision is for you though and you shouldn't be afraid to speak up to GP or mw, even if only to discuss what your options are.
yeah def tearing etc for me too. its just a personal fear. some women cant bear the thought of cs! it is by no means the easy way out as the recovery is painful but I stand by my decision. However, I believe you can have counselling, cbt, and an epidural of course I think its important to research both but without the horror stories, and talk through your fears and options with a midwife.
I don't want to patronise you but I was exactly the same (minus the termination experience). I was TERRIFIED of childbirth. Whenever anybody mentioned it I'd start shaking and I was sick when I saw a diagram of the cervix with a baby passing through it. But...I went on to have the most perfect labour and birth . All through my pregnancy I wouldn't even think about the birth and when I actually had to confront it (my MIL and FIL (a GP) sat me down to talk about the reality) I was adamant I was going to have every drug available and try to get a C-section. But I didn't need it. At 6am I went into labour and was unexpectedly calm, I realised the pain isn't instant and I had time to bath, paint my nails and eat breakfast. I stayed at home until lunchtime, in the bath and practising breathing exercises. I realised I could breathe through the pain and I sniffed things as a distraction (lavender water, rose water and DH gave me coconut oil massages). I then went to hospital and had a completely natural water birth- DD was in my arms by 4pm. No pain relief at all. A few stitches but it was fine. The pain wasn't as bad as when I broke my leg. It was a gradual, but relatively fast, process. I ruined my pregnancy panicking about the birth, convinced I'd die and my vagina would be tore to shreds and I'd break my back and pelvis. But it was fine. I recommend breathing exercises, things to sniff, oils and definitely consider a water birth! Good luck and PM me if you need somebody to talk to, I know how terrifying it is
Just reading your post is such a relief to know im not the only one. I suffer from anxiety and even during the antenatal class i had to walke out twice nearly in tears. I cant watch women giving birth on tv without feeling like I want to be sick. I am now 29 weeks pregnant and have a confirmed C-Section in the diary that was confirmed by my obstretician yesterday.
I have to say that both my midwife and second obstretcian werent fans of me having a C Section but werent totally against it, they were very much of its your choice and we dont agree it for everyone but are you sure taking into account all the pros and cons. after lots of talking and me trying to not cry which was not succsefful it was agreed it was best for me.
I know its not the easy option but my fear is the actual giving birth, tearing etc. In Antenatal class i was the only woman who yelped and nearly fainted in the chair when dicussing tearing and stiches.
I have quite a bad fear that ive fainted on the table before having a smear test. Everyone is built differently.
I great help to me was having my partner with me at my obstretician appointment, because ultimately they are the one who decides if its a yes or no for a C Section. My partner spoke up and supported me when I got choked by fear while trying to explain myself. I just went deathly quiet and couldnt get the words out.
I know that having C Section isnt easy and having read it all up its scares me too but for me natural birth is far worse so I have come to peace with my choice and feel alot more relaxed since it was agreed.
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