Women dread childbirth after reading 'horror stories' online
Mumsnet "horror stories" could be one reason why some women suffer from a pathological terror of childbirth, a leading expert and midwife has said.
Tocophobia is a mental condition defined as a severe fear or dread of childbirth.
It affects an estimated 14pc of women, and can be serious enough to prompt requests for Caesarean deliveries and abortions. Research suggests that worldwide, rates of the disorder have been rising since 2000.
Catriona Jones, a lecturer in midwifery at the University of Hull in England, believes social media is partly to blame for the phenomenon.
She said: "You just have to Google childbirth and you're met with a tsunami of horror stories. If you go onto any of the Mumsnet forums there are women telling their stories of childbirth - 'oh, it was terrible, it was a blood-bath'. I think that can be quite frightening for women."