Tokophobia is an intense fear of giving birth. It’s not simply anxiety or nervousness. Those things are normal and tend to happen surrounding childbirth but tokophobia can be debilitating and can greatly affect your quality of life.
It primarily affects those who were assigned females at birth. People who have this condition will take any measures necessary to avoid getting pregnant. In the event that they do get pregnant, they end up dreading every second of pregnancy instead of enjoying or relishing the experience.
There are two types of tokophobia:
- Primary Tokophobia – this occurs in people who have never had any experience of childbirth
- Secondary Tokophobia – this occurs in people who have experienced a traumatic event during their pregnancy or labor
Symptoms of Tokophobia
There are various symptoms to identify whether someone has tokophobia or not: This includes:
- Anxiety and depression
- Panic attacks
- Increase in other anxiety symptoms like irrational worry or fatigue
- Mood swings
- Avoiding sexual intercourse as much as possible
- An inability to form an emotional connection with their unborn child
- Extreme feelings of dread when thinking about pregnancy or childbirth
- Insomnia or frequent nightmares
- Taking any measures to avoid pregnancy like doubling or tripling their birth control methods
- Fixating on the things that could go wrong during childbirth
- Unable to feel any excitement about the pregnancy
- Attempting to keep the pregnancy a secret
- Insisting on going through a C-section during the actual birth
Treatment for Tokophobia
It’s important that those who have tokophobia receive the proper treatment to make sure that both the mother and child end up healthy. One way to do this is by providing them with lots of emotional and social support. Cognitive behavior therapy and psychotherapy also prove effective for treating tokophobia.
It’s also possible to treat tokophobia with medications, whether alone or in conjunction with other forms of treatment, in order to treat any psychiatric disorders that are brought about by the phobia.