According to a new study, fear of childbirth may be a driving cause in wanting or choosing an unnecessary c-section. The study surveyed women with healthy pregnancies from eight countries, and looked at responses that indicated the level of fear toward birth. Respondents' fears included fear of pain and bodily damage from vaginal birth. Perhaps the most important part of the study's findings was that those who preferred c-section also reported a lack of knowledge about childbirth.
There are many factors that a person will take into consideration when making decisions related to their pregnancy and birth. Personal health history, family influence, care provider input, and familiarity/experience with birth all support a person's decisions. It's important to notice, however, when you're making decisions based on a lack of knowledge or information, as it is one of the easiest factors to change.
Making decisions when there is a lack of knowledge can have unintended, negative, and lasting consequences. With vaginal birth vs. cesarean birth, for example, it is known that for most people, vaginal birth is significantly more safe than a cesarean birth. Yet, if a person lacks information about vaginal birth, there is a greater tendency to fear it based on stories, movies, and misguided information from other sources.
Biologically speaking, fear is an important motivator for making decisions. Fear is what compels us to avoid danger and find safety. Fear is important -- when there is real danger. When the danger is only perceived, fear can be unhelpful at best and harmful at worst.
If you find that you're making decisions about your care in pregnancy and birth based on fear of the unknowns, it's easy to make a change. Get informed about pregnancy and birth -- seek information from additional sources other than friends, family, and your care provider. Find unbiased, evidence-based information from respected books and online sources, and take a quality childbirth education class.
Becoming informed about the specifics of childbirth can help demystify it into something that doesn't seem so scary or unusual. If you find that even after becoming informed, your fear is still too big to manage on your own, seek therapy or counseling. There may be more to your fear than you can healthily manage alone.