Dame Emma, 59, said they opt for a caesarean without being aware of what it can do to the body. Picture: AP

London - Emma Thompson has hit out at the "lies" told about the pain of childbirth, saying they have led to more women choosing C-sections.

The actress, whose daughter, Gaia, 19, was born naturally without pain relief, said women are now terrified because of the horror stories that are told. 

Dame Emma, 59, said they opt for a caesarean without being aware of what it can do to the body.

Speaking to Vulture magazine, she said: "They do tell lies. There’s no honesty about 'Yes, it’s painful' and people are now terrified. So you’re getting an awful lot of elective C-sections, which is a huge operation and very difficult to recover from. The pain of giving birth is now 'optional' and yet there’s no honesty about what that option can actually do to your body.’

Asked about her remark 30 years ago that "romance is a con", Dame Emma, who is married to actor Greg Wise, said: "I don’t know whether I’d say it’s a con now. Back then I was challenging romance for all the right reasons. I was angry about the lies and fairy tales that were sold to young women."