Ask an expert about fear of giving birth 

Fear of pregnancy and fear of childbirth are perfectly normal – every pregnant woman, even the most confident - has some degree of concern about what it will feel like, how she will manage, and what might happen. But for a minority of women, the worry is a lot stronger and becomes a phobia.

The condition, sometimes known as ‘tokophobia’, means fear of childbirth. One study estimates that one in every five women is affected to some extent by fear of childbirth, and six in every hundred are so scared of giving birth that it affects their pregnancy and birth choices. Some women avoid getting pregnant, or they opt for termination, or they feel very strongly that they want to have a caesarean section.

Our expert is Yana Richens, consultant midwife. Yana started her nursing career in 1979 and went on to pursue a career in midwifery. She is co-editor in chief of the British Journal of Midwifery, consultant editor of African Journal for Midwives and editorial board member of the Nursing Standard. Yana was awarded an OBE for services to nursing and midwifery in the Queens New Year’s Honours List.

Yana will be here to take your questions about anxiety during maternity and fear of giving birth. The conversation will focus on the findings of Yana’s PhD work which looked at some of the factors that influence fear of birth such as the media and television; family and friends; and fear of the unknown.

Questions may be submitted in advance of the web chat to:

Live Blog Ask an expert about fear of giving birth

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