Fear Of Childbirth Or Pregnancy (tokophobia): 5 Tips To Deal With Negative Thoughts Of Pregnancy

What is tokophobia and how can it affect us? When is the fear of childbirth or pregnancy pathological? Discover why this irrational fear of childbirth happens and how to deal with it.

Tokophobia or fear of childbirth

Pregnancy and childbirth are two moments of great joy for most parents. Despite the illusion that these moments represent, the reality is that it can also be a great source of stress and anxiety for women. In fact, it is completely normal for there to be concerns about the pain of childbirth and the possibility of something going wrong. But, nevertheless, there are cases in which these fears can cause many effects on women. So when the fear of childbirth Is it pathological?

What is tokophobia?

The tokophobia It is an irrational fear of pregnancy and childbirth. Women who have this phobia end up suffering from a fear of pathological childbirth, so that they avoid getting pregnant or giving birth in the traditional way.

Therefore, women who experience these negative pregnancy thoughts They usually avoid staying in this state even though they want to have children. Or, in some cases they may opt for a cesarean section to avoid vaginal delivery. Tokophobia or fear of pregnancy or childbirth can occur in women who have never gone through this process or even in those who have had traumatic experiences in previous births.

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Symptoms of fear of childbirth or tokophobia

The tokophobia It involves experiencing excessive fear and anxiety about pregnancy and childbirth. Women with this irrational fear may feel excessive anxiety and fear before giving birth, or even when thinking or imagining the birth process. In addition to this, the following symptoms of tokophobia can be identified:

  1. Excessive pregnancy anxiety: One of the main symptoms of tokophobia is anxiety. Women with this fear of childbirth They often experience too much anxiety when they imagine this process.
  2. Irrational fear: Although women with tokophobia They feel a very real fear of childbirth or pregnancy, they are usually aware that it is an irrational fear.
  3. Avoid vaginal birth: Women with this fear of childbirth They often request a cesarean section due to the anxiety they experience and the fear they have of this process.
  4. Effects on your daily life: This irrational fear It ends up affecting different areas of your life, be it work, school, relationships, social activities and even your daily routine.

Symptoms related to tokophobia They usually last about six months and should not be related to another mental health diagnosis, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Tokophobia or fear of childbirth or pregnancy?

It is completely normal for pregnant women to feel some fear or worry around this process. But when we talk about tokophobiawe are pointing to serious anxiety that ends up affecting the way both pregnancy and childbirth are experienced.

Women who are afraid of pregnancy or childbirth or who simply do not want to have children do not feel anxiety that ends up affecting their day or their decisions. That is, although they may feel some fear of childbirth or pregnancy They feel this fear does not stop them. On the other hand, those who experience tokophobia usually end up being affected by this irrational fear.

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Why am I afraid of childbirth or pregnancy?

Researchers suggest that there are various explanations that could explain the development of tokophobia. Among the most common causes we can find the following:

  • Traumatic experiences: Women who have experienced a very difficult birth may end up suffering from tokophobia because of that.
  • Fear of pain: Some women may develop this irrational fear of childbirth because they have heard experiences that suggest it will cause a lot of pain.
  • Psychological disorders: In some cases, women can develop this fear of pregnancy or childbirth because they suffer from other psychological disorders such as anxiety or depression.

Causes of fear of childbirth

Types of tokophobia

In addition to the fact that the development of this disorder is due to different causes, we must also take into account that there are different types of tokophobia:

  • Primary tokophobia: It occurs in those women who have never had a birth. In fact, this fear of pregnancy It can begin during adolescence, although it can also occur after a woman has become pregnant.
  • Secondary tokophobia: It occurs in women who have previously experienced pregnancy and childbirth. Often this irrational fear It happens as a result of a traumatic birth.

How to deal with negative thoughts of pregnancy or tokophobia?

If you feel fear of pregnancy or childbirth and this is affecting your life, it is important that you keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Talk about your feelings: To better cope with the anxiety related to this process, you should talk about it with your loved ones. Talking about it can help you see that it is a irrational fear In addition, it will also allow you to reduce the feelings associated with the anxiety that it causes you.
  2. Plan the birth: To avoid worries around this time, it may be helpful to talk about and plan ahead for labor with your doctor. Having a plan can help you feel more in control and empowered in this process.
  3. Avoid listening to bad experiences: Hearing traumatic stories can end up causing women to develop tokophobia. Instead of focusing on these bad experiences, we recommend looking for proven medical information and focusing on positive stories surrounding childbirth.
  4. Take prenatal support classes: Learning about what happens during childbirth can help you control irrational fear that may arise around this process.
  5. Get psychological support: If you think that tokophobia may be triggered by a disorder such as anxiety or depression, or that this fear of pregnancy It is affecting you too much, it is important that you go to a professional psychologist to give you tools to face this situation.
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With the right support and treatment, women who experience tokophobia They may end up improving their experiences around childbirth and pregnancy.