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The term ‘Tokophobia‘ is not a familiar one to many people. Scientifically, it is the pathological fear of pregnancy that is considered to be one of the primary or secondary reasons attributing to decreased child birth rates.

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According to scientists, tokophobia can become a factor even before a woman becomes pregnant for the first time, and in some cases it may even prevent a potential mother from ever becoming pregnant. If not treated or looked into, the side effects of tokophobia can become even more intense and damaging over time.

The Indicators of Tokophobia

Some women have an overwhelming fear and stress towards the birth process, a fear that can often outweigh the excitement of bringing a new life into the world. These fears can often become harmful to the pregnancy process at all stages and as a result should be looked into as quickly as possible. Here are some of the most commonly found symptoms of tokophobia, according to AllAboutCounseling.com:

  • Feelings revolve around the heavy pain she will have to face during childbirth or pregnancy.
  • A growing depression throughout the process of pregnancy.
  • Making sure that elective Caesarean section will be available as an alternative.
  • Thinking about maternal death, stillbirth, miscarriage or birth defects as an expected result of giving birth.
  • A deep wish to have a child, but a persistent fear of getting pregnant.

Tokophobia affects up to 10% of pregnant women, and usually occurs in either adolescence or early adulthood. Moreover, 7% of women have been known to request a caesarean birth even if there is no serious need as a result of the fear.

Caesarean or Vaginal birth?

The proper procedure for a doctor to follow when a woman asks for a caesarean section is to look into the real reasons as to why they are looking to go with that particular birthing alternative. Once the reasoning is identified, both parties should discuss whether or not the process is either needed or the best alternative for their particular case.

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If there is no medical need for a caesarean section, the mother should be made aware of the risks and benefits of the procedure in comparison to vaginal birth. After that, it’s best that the expectant mother takes the time to talk with an obstetrician or anaesthetist to discuss her options and to make the optimal choice for her particular case. If at this point the expectant mother still chooses to not go through with a vaginal birth, a caesarean section should be offered in confidence.

The Reasons Behind The Fear

There are many different reasons behind the dread of childbirth, but here are some of the most popular ones:

  • Pessimistic Ideas: Fear can often be obtained through incorrect ideas of what the birthing process is like. Be sure to get full information and don’t be afraid to listen to nice and easy birth stories -rather than those which promote your fears.
  • Continual Worries: Try to stay away from persistent thinking of the process and the generation of worries as a result.
  • Rape & Sexual Abuse
  • Stress During Pregnancy

How To Face Tokophobia?

Here are some effective solutions for those who really want to face their fears:

  • Attend Childbirth-Preparation Classes: You can find one in your area. This may help you to feel more confident and prepared for the birthing process.
  • Stay Hopeful & Positive: Preparing the body and mind is very important, but the most important thing is to keep believing in yourself. Remember that the female body is designed to handle birth, so of course you too can handle it.
  • Seek The Support Of Loved Ones: Being open and honest with those we are closest to, may seem scary but can often be one of the greatest sources of support available.
  • Work With A Psychiatrist Or Life Coach: Tell your trusted practitioner about your experience and be open to any suggestions that they may make to keep the relationship between you and your child healthy.

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Sources:

1. Tokophobia

2. Tokophobia: A dread of pregnancy

3. Tokophobia–a multidisciplinary problem

4. Are women with a fear of childbirth being supported?

5. Explaining tokophobia, the phobia of pregnancy and childbirth


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