Fear Of Pregnancy: Tokophobia Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

tokophobia, fear of being pregnant symptoms, fear of pregnancy

Childbirth is a beautiful and life-changing experience for many women, but for some, it can be a source of immense fear and anxiety. This condition is known as Tokophobia, a term derived from the Greek words “tokos” meaning childbirth, and “phobia” meaning fear.

fear of childbirth new born child in hospital

What is Tokophobia?

Tokophobia refers to the fear and aversion to pregnancy, childbirth and the associated physical and psychological pain. It can manifest in two forms: primary and secondary. Primary tokophobia is a pathological fear of pregnancy and childbirth that is present before pregnancy and is not related to any previous traumatic experience. Secondary tokophobia is fear that develops after a traumatic experience during pregnancy or childbirth.

Symptoms of Tokophobia

The symptoms of tokophobia can vary from person to person, but common signs include:

  • Intense fear and avoidance of pregnancy and childbirth
  • Extreme anxiety and panic attacks related to childbirth
  • Difficulty conceiving or reluctance to get pregnant
  • Depression or irritability related to the thought of childbirth
  • Physical symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, palpitations, or sweating
fear of childbirth pregnant woman

Causes of Tokophobia

The causes of tokophobia are complex and can vary from person to person. Some common causes include:

  • Previous traumatic childbirth experience
  • Lack of knowledge or information about pregnancy and childbirth
  • Negative media portrayals of childbirth
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Personal or family history of anxiety or mental health issues

Treatment for Tokophobia

Fortunately, there are several effective treatments available for tokophobia. These include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Exposure therapy
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Medication
  • Support from family, friends, and medical professionals

Overcoming Tokophobia

Overcoming tokophobia requires a multi-faceted approach that addresses both the physical and psychological aspects of the condition. Here are some tips for overcoming tokophobia:

  • Seek professional help from a mental health professional
  • Educate yourself about pregnancy and childbirth
  • Surround yourself with a supportive network of family and friends
  • Practice relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation
  • Create a birth plan that addresses your fears and concerns


Tokophobia is a real and distressing condition that affects many women. But with the right support and treatment, it can be overcome. Women with tokophobia should not feel ashamed or embarrassed, but should reach out for help and support. Remember, childbirth is a natural process that millions of women go through every year, and with the right support and treatment, you can have a positive and empowering experience.

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