Tokophobia | Fear of giving birth

Posted on July 6th, 2016

If your anxiety about your impending labour is overwhelming and affecting your health, you may have the condition tokophobia – a fear of giving birth. Compiled by Lijeng Ranooe

Tokophobia

It’s normal to feel nervous about labour, especially if it’s your first baby.  However, there are a percentage of women who are terrified of giving birth. This fear is called tokophobia, and said to be responsible for the rise of C-sections. Here’s a round-up some information on the phobia.

What is tokophobia?

Tokophobia is the fear of childbirth. Women with this phobia are scared of how a pregnancy can change their life and body; if their child is going to be healthy and normal; or whether they will die during childbirth. Women with this phobia will often prefer a C- section rather than a vaginal birth. If the fear is severe, some women may even opt to terminate their pregnancy.

What are the causes?

The contributing factors to the rise of tokophobia include a previous bad labour experience, social media and TV. Women that do not have accurate information about childbirth and the labour process are more prone to develop the condition.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may vary from person to person but the most common causes are related to behaviour. The emotional or physical may present themselves as constant fatigue and drowsiness; difficulty   falling asleep; crying anxiety and nervousness are common in women with tokophobia.

How is it treated?

One suggested method is hypnotherapy, which assists to shift your subconscious thoughts that may be part of the fear. Relaxation exercises, such as yoga, deep breathing and active meditation, can help to ease anxiety. Seeking professional help from a therapist or psychologist is also recommended.

Also see: 8 facts to ease your labour fears

Xanet Scheepers

About Xanet Scheepers

Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.