Vaginismus means I’m terrified of a natural birth

How can I give birth when I suffer from vaginismus?

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Q: I’m 28 weeks pregnant, which is a miracle as I have a condition called vaginismus, where the muscles of the vagina go into spasm involuntarily. I can’t be examined or have a smear, and become a wreck at the thought of it. I’ve asked for an elective C-section but my consultant has refused and said that as labour progresses I will have an epidural instead. I was too upset to argue and left in tears. How can I come to terms with this?

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Psychotherapist Lesley Steyn says: ‘I’m sorry you’ve been treated in such an insensitive way. It sounds as though your consultant has considered your case purely from a medical point of view.
Physically you may be capable of a straightforward birth, but emotionally you’re afraid.
Firstly, I suggest you ask to be referred to another consultant more willing to discuss options with you.
Secondly, you need to seek help from a psychotherapist who can help you explore the fears that might lie behind your vaginismus.
To find a therapist, contact the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, British Association for Sexual and Relationship Therapy or the British Psychoanalytic Council.

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