Supporting you through trauma and fear relating to pregnancy and birth

About us

The Lotus Team supports women and birthing people who have strong fears around childbirth (Tokophobia) or who have experienced birth trauma (trauma that has happened in pregnancy, birth or immediately afterwards).

We offer personalised support through individual therapy, group work, peer support, and specialist midwife midwifery care.

The Lotus Team is proud to include professionals from a range of backgrounds – including Clinical Psychologists, Peer Support Workers, Psychotherapists, and Specialist Midwives – to provide person-centred care according to your needs.

You can self-refer and we also accept referrals from GPs, midwives, social workers, health visitors, other mental health services and agencies.

About this service

What is birth trauma?

Birth Trauma is a phrase which has become more recognised in recent years. More and more, we are realising that there are many parts of pregnancy, birth, and afterwards which can be traumatic to women and birthing people. A healthy baby is not all that matters, your wellbeing is important too.

For more information on what is meant by birth trauma, please click here to be taken to the Make Birth Better homepage.

Not everyone who experiences something traumatic will be affected afterwards. However, for some, it will change how we feel and act every day. We know these experiences can impact all areas of life, but this might not always be understood by those around us.

After a birth trauma, your body and mind might react in different ways. This might happen straight away or much later. These may include:

  • Feeling very sad
  • Feeling scared
  • Being overwhelmed
  • Feeling frustrated or angry
  • Feeling guilty or to blame
  • Having upsetting thoughts you can’t ignore
  • Having flashbacks or nightmares
  • You may also have physical feelings, e.g. your pulse racing, becoming sweaty, or having difficulty sleeping
  • You might find your relationships with your partner or family change

If you are having any of these feelings, please talk to a healthcare professional, for example your midwife or GP. They will be able to direct you to local support.

If these feelings are long lasting, overwhelming, or impacting your every-day life, the Lotus Team may be able to offer you some additional support.

What is Tokophobia?

It is normal to have some anxieties and fears about pregnancy, birth, and becoming a parent. Having a baby is often a time where a lot of change takes place.

Your midwife and/or family and friends may be able to help you through this, by providing you the support and information you need. Your midwife will also be able to show you where to access antenatal education classes in your local area to help you feel more prepared. These thoughts are part of the normal journey to parenthood.

Tokophobia is a word to describe an extreme fear of childbirth. It is a continuous, strong, and specific fear relating to pregnancy and birth. You may develop tokophobia after a traumatic birth experience, but you can also experience tokophobia in your first pregnancy. For more information on tokophobia, please click here to access the Tommy’ website.

You may experience some of the following symptoms:

·              Avoiding becoming pregnant

·              Feeling very worried or upset to be pregnant

·              Considering ending a pregnancy due to fear

·              Being unable to think or talk about giving birth

·              Fear of harm or death as a result of birth

·              Upsetting thoughts about birth you can’t ignore

·              Having high levels and uncontrolled levels of anxiety and panic during your pregnancy

·              Feelings of being out of control and trapped

·              Having a very strict birth plan to control your fears e.g., only wanting a caesarean section

·              Avoiding any people or places that remind you of birth e.g. going in hospital, seeing your midwife

If you are experiencing these symptoms during your pregnancy, the Lotus Team may be able to offer you additional support.

What we offer

As part of an individual plan, we will work with you to consider what support would be most helpful. This might include:

  • Individual therapy – supporting you to make sense of your experiences, learn new skills, clarify what is important, and plan a way forward
  • Group Work – an opportunity to learn ways to manage difficult emotions, share your story, and connect with others who may have gone through a similar experience
  • Peer Support – accompanying and inspiring people in their recovery journey through the use of their lived experience of trauma and/or loss
  • Support from Specialist Midwives – helping you to navigate the maternity journey by providing specialist advice and support around maternity choices, the birth experience, and postnatal care. If you are currently pregnant or planning another pregnancy after a traumatic birth, the Lotus Midwives can also support you by developing specialist care plans suitable for your needs alongside your existing Maternity team

We know that birth trauma and Tokophobia can be very traumatic experiences. We offer a trauma “informed care approach”, which means:

  • staff being trustworthy and clear
  • peer support
  • working together and supporting women to make individual choices
  • being sensitive to cultural and gender issues that may impact on anyone’s experience of care.

Additional support within the Lotus Team 

We also offer support for women and birthing people who may experience difficulties related to:

  1. Your child no longer living with you due to Children’s Services involvement
  2. The loss of a pregnancy or the death of a baby

It is common for people to have experience across these situations. We can discuss any additional needs you might have and think together about what support might look like.

How to refer

You can refer yourself by calling 01603 786781 or sending an email to Please note that the phone line and email are not staffed 24/7, and if you need help urgently see the information below. You can also ask your midwife, health visitor, or other health or social care professional to make a referral on your behalf.

The Lotus Team prepared a small document to highlight what birth trauma is as well as how to those experiencing birth trauma can access support. Birth Trauma Awareness Week 2022 [pdf] 1021KB

Other agencies you might find useful:

PANDAS Foundation UK – provides support for parents who have been affected by perinatal mental illness as a result of birth trauma. They provide telephone support, email support and support groups. Helpline number: 0808 1961 776, email: .

Birth Trauma Association – offers support, information and advice for parents that have experienced birth trauma.

Make Birth Better – offers support, information and advice for parents that have experienced birth trauma.

Bliss – offers support, information, and advice to parents whose baby required specialist neonatal care.

Urgent help

The Lotus team is unable to offer 24-hour crisis support. However, NSFT runs the First Response line, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can be contacted by calling 0808 196 3494.

If you are with someone who has attempted suicide, call 999 and stay with them until the ambulance arrives. 

If anyone is at serious risk of harm, call 999 and ask for the police. 

For non-life-threatening medical situations, call NHS111 on 111.

For more information, see Help in a Crisis.


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