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Is it possible to overcome Tokophobia and go on to birth calmly? I have 7 weeks to do it!

(13 Posts)
blinder Fri 17-Jul-09 12:23:11

Is there anyone out there who had tokophobia or extreme anxiety about birth but went on to labour peacefully?

I thought I was doing so well with my affirmations, Marie Mongan scripts, relaxation and breathing practise. I've been feeling like it's possible to have the home birth I am booked in for.

Then, while waiting for my antenatal check yesterday I overheard a woman moaning into what was plainly a g+a cylinder and I suffered a sodding panic attack. Full on sweats, nausea, dizziness and urge to rush to the loo! The poor woman was obviously in a bit of distress, contractions every 3 mins or so, and 6cms dilated I overheard. But to panic just at the sound of her voice is ridiculous isn't it? I think it reminded me how I sounded 12 years ago, when I was so terrified and in pain myself sad.

This reaction was so completely out of the blue that I'm really scared I haven't dealt with the underlying fear at all! shock sad

Spent most of yesterday in a state of weepy anxiety and would REALLY love to hear a story of how you overcame the fear yourself! Put me back on track!

mumblechum Fri 17-Jul-09 12:48:30

A friend of mine was similarly terrified of giving birth and had an elective CS which went fine.

I had 2 emergency CSs with no significant after effects.

Is an elective CS an option for you?

blinder Fri 17-Jul-09 12:56:28

Hmm, I had a feeling that would be suggested mumblechum. I really want to overcome the fear if I can, which may sound crazy. And even an elective cs has risks. Plus, the prospect of being operated on in hospital also strikes the fear of god into me iyswim. I think that it was handing over total control to medical staff which was a major part of the trauma the first time round tbh.

It's not the pain which scares me, it's the panic. I think a cs could be just as scary for me personally.

Zorra Fri 17-Jul-09 14:20:44

You mention Marie Mongan, but have you been going to hypnobirthing classes or just using the books and CDs? If you are doing classes, you should do a fear release session with your hypnobirthing tutor - and you can book an extra private session if you need to. I did this (not for what you have but for other issues) when I realised that however well I was doing, I was essentially trying to paper over my underlying fear rather than getting it out. Either way, good luck!

childrenchildreneverywhere Fri 17-Jul-09 14:31:53

Hi, I echo Zorra, I'm a HypnoBirthing teacher and IMO tokophobia, although something I encounter regularly needs more than self tuition or the course alone, I always see tokophobia clients privately and end up tailoring extra hypnosis sessions for them, if you are using a DIY method can I recommend you contact a practitioner for a one to one hypnotherapy session, or if you are attending classes ask for an extra private session.

Also have you considered a doula? I'm also a doula and have doula'd for a couple of tokophobia clients, they have said they found the presence of a doula really reassuring - see

HTH! and 7wks is more than enough time!

Lio Fri 17-Jul-09 14:37:08

I got a doula second time around, and did EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), which worked fantastically well for me. I know it sounds weird, but I don't really care, because I went into my daughter's birth without fear.
There used to be a rolling banner about EFT for birth I think...

blinder Fri 17-Jul-09 15:32:47

Thank you for the replies.

Yes I am attending hypnobirthing sessions (Marie Mongam method) and have my 4th session tonight. We did a fear release last week and I have done another two myself since yesterday morning. I am going to tell my tutor all about what happened and see what she suggests. It's reassuring that the course may not be enough by itself. Since I really REALLY want to overcome this, maybe it's a good thing this has happened. I can now apply myself with extra effort to letting the fear go!

I've looked but cannot find a doula in my area at all (South Wales). Any recommendations gratefully received.

It would still be lovely to hear from someone who WAS terrified about birth, but was still able to deliver calmly, even (dare I say it) happily?

Lio EFT is the method Paul McKenna uses for food cravings isn't it? Interesting that you have found it so helpful...

Lio Fri 17-Jul-09 15:53:23

Ooh, didn't know that about Paul McKenna. By the way, I didn't say, but you can do it by phone (that's how I did it) so doesn't matter where in the world you are. I did need a lot of tissues, though!

twoplusone Sat 18-Jul-09 13:56:48

blinder- when PG with DS2 I was fine about theh labour until we went on the tour of the labour ward.. DH said that as we walked roud he waswatching the colou drain from my face. Everyone else noticed too!!! I was bricking it and whenwe left I said... I dont think I can do it again.. I spent the next few weeks worrying about it.. (DS2 was number 3 DD was csection DS1 VBAC)
When the time came Iwas so excited at the prospect of meeting my new baby I forgot about my fears, obviously painful but brilliant birth.
I am now 10weeks pg with number 4 and again I am already bricking it about the birth but I know deep down that the adrenaline and prospect of meeting the baby will overcome my being scared.
Hope this makes sense!!!! and helps you a little..

Good luck hun xx

whocaresaboutyourintellect Sat 18-Jul-09 19:16:42

I am the same and I think this is a really common problem. Somehow I ovecame it after having my 3rd and now although I am apprehensive about my 4th I am nowhere near the state I was in with previous pregnancies.

My first was very traumatic and that was mostly due to not having control. I assure you, you will not make that same mistake again. Chances are, that when you are in labour, you will cope, no time to panic etc. I think homebirth would be good as you are where you need to be. My major panic was getting to the ward on time but once i was there, I relaxed.

Also the groaning thing. For me personally, I groaned alot. Not because I was in intense pain (although I was but not the reason I groaned). I groaned as it simply helps to carry me through each contraction, that and the wonderful effects of the G&A. For a straight forward labour 6cm dialated is still pretty bearable if you relax and let your body do the work. The more you can concentrate on relaxation during the labour, the easier it will be.

One good thing to working yourself will not be anywhere as bad as you imagined and you will cope. With my last I kept saying to myself "it's gonna get worse" and it never did :-) or if it did it wasn't nearly as bad as I imagined.

blinder Sat 18-Jul-09 21:02:39

Thank you for those lovely peaceful perspectives!

I haven't really been fine at all throughout this pregnancy tbh twoplusone and I have only recently stopped suffering panic attacks, flashbacks and nightmares. It's a case of PTSD unfortunately, although it's helpful to hear that it's possible to be very anxious and still have a brilliant time.

It probably can't be as bad as I imagine whocares grin! That is definitely an upside.

Lio amazingly, my hypnobirthing teacher did a quick EFT session with me last night. I see what you mean about the tissues! Very strange how my 'ashamed' feeling isn't so strong today. I might carry on with it for the terror too!

Lio Tue 21-Jul-09 10:01:50

Hi blinder, I hope the EFT does continue to be a positive and helpful thing for you. Hats off to your hypnobirthing teacher for using it, and to you for tackling these difficult feelings. You CAN have the birth you want smile

Monkeyandbooba Tue 21-Jul-09 10:04:02

Yup I had an awful phobia but I went on to have two amazing homebirths with nothing but G&A and a pool. Did hypnobirthing second time round and that was very helpful, can recommend highly.


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