As many as one in five women have a fear of childbirth according to the NHS. In fact, the fear even has its own name; tokophobia.
It’s unsurprising, given that the TV shows we’ve grown up watching often sensationalise the realities of giving birth, causing us all to have skewed views on what it’s really like.
Former The Only Way Is Essex star, Lauren Pope, shared some of her birth fears on Yahoo UK’s The Baby Bump with Lauren Pope, and says that talking about her “triggers” helped her to overcome the fear.
The 37-year-old, who is 35-weeks pregnant with her first child, reveals that hypnobirthing has encouraged her to look forward to giving birth.
“For me, I have anxiety about having to have an emergency c-section. I would love a natural labour as much as possible, I don’t really want an epidural, if I can stick to that as much as possible then great,” Pope said.
It wasn’t until she started speaking about her options with hypnobirthing coach, Elise Tobias from Birth Bubble that she began to realise that having a c-section is really “not that bad”.
“We wrote down my triggers, and by putting all of that together on paper, I now definitely feel clearer in my head that whatever happens I’ll deal with it.”
Pope came to this realisation after working with Tobias, and the hypnobirthing coach, who is also a doula, explained that anybody can take on Pope’s new mentality if they want to.
“Birth all happens in the subconscious part of our brain and in the oldest part of our brain,” Tobias explains.
That means the act of giving birth happens very deep in our brains and far away from the neocortex; our rational brain.
“The way this part of the brain works is that those fears are there to put you on high alert. If they’re not dealt with in the pregnancy then they are likely to come up when you’re in labour because your mind is trying to protect you.”
Tobias recommends trying to figure out what your anxieties are during pregnancy and the things that might trigger adrenaline for you.
This then allows you to state in your birth preferences anything to make you feel more comfortable about those fears. For Pope, “a clear and open communication” has been advised to stop her from worrying about an emergency situation.
“For many women I work with, the journey from home to the hospital is a big trigger,” Tobias admits.
“How we deal with that is by consistently breathing and really focussing on our breathing technique. You can always have that with you and it’s the number one thing that can always keep you feeling really calm and keep that anxiety and adrenaline at bay.”
“In through your nose for four counts, out through your mouth for eight. If you take one thing away from this, let it be that.”