Tokophobia or fear of pregnancy and childbirth
It is often said that pregnancy is a wonderful time to give life and build your own family, but not everything is always beautiful and pink. This is an important moment and can, therefore, be feared by a large number of women, to the point that it becomes a phobia, we then speak of tokophobia.
Qu’est-ce que c’est exactement ? Comment savoir si je suis tokophobe ? Et surtout, comment la soigner ?
What is tokophobia?
Having an immeasurable fear of giving birth now has a name: tokophobia. We can, therefore, consider it as a disease since it is linked to the fear of pain and death. Not only does fear attach itself to childbirth, but also to pregnancy, which can cause panic attacks or paralyzing anxiety to the point of no longer wanting to be a mother or postponing the experience as late as possible.
This fear is natural, going from being a woman to a mother is not easy, moreover in 2012, the Industrial Psychiatry Journal (Indian medical journal) declared that 13% of women suffer from tokophobia. In some people, this fear may be more or less accentuated. This phobia affects both young people and women over 40 years of age, so there are no standard characteristics, but there are several profiles and symptoms that can be identified.
The three profiles of tokophobia
- Primary tokophobia is often present before the first birth, it is a fear that can appear in adolescence. Generally, when you are at this stage, sexual relations go well but contraceptive methods are multiplied in order to avoid any risk of pregnancy. The primary state is very widespread but it is not paralyzing because the desire to have a child often exceeds the fear of pregnancy and childbirth, even if often childbirth will be performed by cesarean section at the request of the mother-to-be.
- Women who suffer from secondary tokophobia have generally experienced a difficult delivery, which has caused trauma, such as an operative delivery if the fetus is suffering. The birth of their child was a painful and painful moment that could have left physical or psychological scars. This fear may also be explained if there was a fear for the baby’s life, or even if the person to think for a moment that they had lost their baby.
- Tokophobia can also be a symptom of prenatal depression when a woman realizes her pregnancy and the responsibilities involved, it is possible to feel overwhelmed by events and in some cases, the woman will think she is not able to assume this role.
This symptom of depression can lead, in some cases, to voluntary termination of pregnancy or to a risky behavior, whether through high-level sports activities or the consumption of alcohol or cigarettes.
The consequences of childbirth phobia and its remedies
Tokophobia can have serious consequences such as refusing to become a mother, even if a desire is present, because of this phobic fear of pregnancy and childbirth. As we have seen previously, voluntary termination of pregnancy will often be considered by a person suffering from this disease, just as the cesarean section will be preferred if the fear of pregnancy is overcome. However, it happens that after birth, the person requests sterilization in order to avoid this situation. She may also develop post-traumatic stress disorder (vomiting, anxiety, dreams or unpleasant memories…).
But don’t panic, if you have this disease, there are solutions you can use to fight this phobic fear. Generally, psychotherapy is recommended to allow the person to express themselves freely, without fear of being judged, in order to determine the origin of this phobia and thus combat it. If the woman is pregnant, the medical team should be invited to these therapies (gynecologist, midwife…) in order to have better follow-up and better supervision.
There are also natural aids such as homeopathy or herbal medicine that are regularly used, however, you should always consult your doctor in order to avoid taking any risks, especially during pregnancy. If you are stressed, there is nothing like a good yoga, relaxation or meditation session. In addition, there are exercises that you can practice yourself, which can be very practical during a panic attack.