Horror experiences of childbirth shared by new mothers on online and social media platforms could be driving the rise in a pathological terror of pregnancy and childbirth called tokophobia leading to requests for more C-section and abortions.
"You just have to Google childbirth, and you're met with a tsunami of horror stories," BBC Health quoted Catriona Jones, a lecturer at the University of Hull as saying.
‘Tokophobia is a condition defined as a severe fear or terror of childbirth. It affects around 14 percent of women and can be severe enough to lead to requests for cesarean sections and abortions.’
If you go to any online forums, "women are telling their stories of childbirth - 'Oh, it was terrible,' 'it was a bloodbath,' 'this and that happened.' I think that can be quite frightening for women to engage with and read about," she added.
Tokophobia is a mental condition defined as a severe fear or dread of childbirth. It affects around 14 percent of women and can be serious enough to lead to requests for cesarean sections, and abortions, the Guardian reported.
According to Professor Louise Kenny of the University of Liverpool, that tokophobia was seriously under-researched, and there was little literature on the condition.
"(Stories) shared in safe environments can be quite healing and informative but some women are predisposed to developing a phobia due to stories are taken out of context or experiences that are graphic," she noted.
Kenny added that the main causes of the condition varied depending on whether you were pregnant with your first or second child.
"Some women develop it due to an adverse birth experience, but for others, the main cause can be a history of childhood or adult sexual assault or abuse. It can also be due to previous exposure to a story or something they have seen on TV or social media," she explained.
Treatment for tokophobia includes cognitive behavior therapy, one-to-one educational sessions with midwives, and "graded exposure," a process that involves having access to labor rooms or operating theatres in a gradual and non-threatening way.