Tokophobia

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All phobias are irrational, tokophobia is an irrational fear of giving birth, this is more common in first time mothers but also in women who may have experienced complications or trauma, perhaps even lost their child in previous birth(s).

 Primary tokophobia is when a woman has not actually experieced childbirth or pregnancy, their fear is a result of something they have seen or something someone else has experienced. Women suffering from primary tokophobia may even be afraid to get pregnant in the first place.

Secondary Tokophobia is when a woman has experienced trauma first hand during childbirth or pregnancy.

Symptoms of tokopobia

Tokophobia can be difficult to diagnose because it is common for expecting mothers to feel anxious. However, being a phobia, the fear that is a lot stronger and extremely irrational, heavily influencing your life choices, maybe even making you consider intentionally terminating your pregnancy, in order to avoid confronting your fear of gestation and childbirth.

  • Obsessive fear of pain during childbirth
  • Fear and mistrust when it comes to being handled or taking advice from healthcare professionals.
  • Not knowing or feeling confused about what actually happens during labor
  • Fear of harm, pain or even death to themselves or their baby during childbirth
  • Feeling trapped or scared
  • Feelings of dread or panic when thinking of pregnancy or labor
  • Only willing to give birth if it can be carried out as a caesarean
  • Intense anxiety or depression throughout pregnancy
  • wanting to have children but refusing to get pregnant
  • compulsions to terminate pregnancy
  • Overwhelming fear of maternal death, stillbirth, miscarriage or birth defects as a consequence of childbirth
  • Refusing to go into labor without taking sedatives and painkillers.

How to cope with tokophobia

The first step to dealing with any psychological problem is initially recognizing that you have an issue. Once you can admit that you have problem, you can then address it. Try to discuss your fear with friends or medical professionals, don’t feel embarrassed by your emotions, however irrational, if something is troubling you that deeply, then it is worth talking about. You might need to go and see a psychiatrist to talk through your fear. Also, gaining a deeper understanding of childbirth and pregnancy by talking to professionals, friends or family, or just reading about what happens to your body to prepare you for pregnancy and childbirth may ease your concerns.