Do You Fear Being Pregnant? Let’s Learn How To Overcome Tokophobia…

Last Update on June 29, 2022 : Published on June 29, 2022

Human existence depends on human reproduction. Most people dream of having their own little family one day, be it giving birth on their own or adopting a child. Many mothers claim that no matter how hard childbirth was for them, they’d do it all over again just to experience the feeling of holding their newborn in their arms.

Having said that, there are many others who do not wish to go through that pain again not because they don’t love their children but because it was a very overwhelming experience for them. And some of them of course dread the very thought of childbirth.

There is no denying the fact that childbirth is a process that has an abundance of emotions, hormones and what not. Some people fear childbirth so much that they quit becoming pregnant to say the least.

Let’s explore tokophobia (the fear of childbirth & pregnancy) a little more…

What Is Tokophobia?


Tokophobia is a mental health condition which is characterized by an intense fear of pregnancy or childbirth. People who suffer from tokophobia fear pregnancy or childbirth so much that they can go to any extent to eliminate the chances of becoming pregnant or experiencing the process of childbirth.

They are so fearful of pregnancy or childbirth that they choose to go to any length to escape the most dreaded fear of theirs (tokophobia). Many women who experience tokophobia skip getting pregnant even though they wish to have children of their own.

In fact, today, a lot of women are opting for a cesarean section as the means of childbirth because their fear of childbirth stops them from even considering the option or a normal delivery. Having known the complications and consequences of a C-section, most women these days happily choose to cut their bodies open but to go through a natural process.

What may be the reason? Let’s Find out…

Signs And Symptoms Of Tokophobia

Tokophobia falls under the category of specific phobias. The most obvious symptom of specific phobias is an intense fear of a specific object, place, situation , etc. Let’s look at the other symptoms of tokophobia;

  • Symptoms of anxiety related to childbirth
  • Symptoms of depression
  • Fear of what’s going to happen during childbirth (eg, still birth, birth defects, death during labor, etc)
  • Intense fear even at the thought of childbirth or pregnancy
  • Insist on a c-section from the very beginning of pregnancy

It is indeed the choice of a woman, there is nothing wrong in birthing the child in whichever way they are comfortable in. The question stands here is, is it tokophobia that is making people choose other means than natural to have a baby or is it the convenience of having an option of doing so?


Types Of Tokophobia

Did you know tokophobia can be divided into two types? Well, tokophobia can make its way either before you have experienced childbirth or after childbirth, in the form of childbirth PTSD. Let’s understand the types briefly;

  1. Primary tokophobia:it occurs only when it is a woman’s first pregnancy. Sometimes it can occur in adolescent girls as well. Basically primary tokophobia is when a girl/woman has not experienced childbirth yet.
  2. Secondary tokophobia: it occurs when a woman has been through one or more childbirth experiences (of course not a pleasant one). It is usually a result of birth trauma experienced during childbirth.

Causes Of Tokophobia

Like all other specific phobias, tokophobia also does not have a pertinent cause but there are a few factors that can aid in developing the fear of childbirth or pregnancy. Let’s have a look at the assumed causes of tokophobia;

  • Birth trauma ,
  • Lack of trust in your doctor,
  • Fear for your baby’s life,
  • Fear of the labor pain,
  • Fear of the unknown,
  • Listening to horrifying birth experiences,
  • Lack of social support,
  • Hormonal changes, etc

Treatment For Tokophobia


The treatment for tokophobia is no different from the treatment process of other phobias but treatment options are limited. The most used treatment for phobias, the exposure therapy, can’t be used in this case (for obvious reasons of course).

The treatment for tokophobia involves a lot of emotional and social healing. Your doctor might prescribe some medicines to you so that the symptoms can be reduced but you’ll be put on more therapeutic healing like yoga, meditation, etc. If nothing helps you will be advised to get psychotherapy like Cognitive behavioral therapy to help you deal with your negative emotions.

That’s All Folks!

I hope you found this blog about tokophobia interesting and informative. Do share this blog with your friends and family or anyone who might be interested in knowing about tokophobia or is currently dealing with an anxious pregnancy.

Thanks for reading.

Take care and stay safe.

About The Author

Kirti Bhati
Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.

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