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Tokophobia, the reason why many women choose not to be mothers

The stage of pregnancy, giving birth and becoming mothers is for some women one of the most beautiful and special experiences that can be lived, but did you know that for approximately 15% of women around the world it is all contrary? And many other women suffer this stage with real panic.

We are talking about a pathological and inexplicable fear of everything that pregnancy, childbirth and being mothers imply, known as tokophobia and whose prevalence has not stopped increasing since 2000.

A disorder affects both first-time women and women who have already had a previous pregnancy., which has usually involved a dramatic birth. Below we explain all the details about this intense fear of pregnancy and childbirth, its most common symptoms and the best way to deal with it.

What is tokophobia and what does it consist of?

Tokophobia is known as an irrational and uncontrollable fear of pregnancy and Birth. This is a term that comes from Greek tokos (birth) and phobos (fear). A pathological, persistent and inexplicable fear of everything that pregnancy entails that must always be treated by a specialist and that surpasses any normal concern about pregnancy or childbirth.

For women who suffer from tokophobia, the mere thought of pregnancy can cause a nervous breakdown, so they tend to avoid the subject and avoid getting pregnant by all possible means, becoming a real obsession.

They not only fear the physical changes typical of pregnancybut they also avoid everything related to the responsibilities that come with being mothers, childbirth and the change of life that the arrival of a child implies.

We are talking, therefore, about very intense feelings that have nothing to do with the usual worry that being a mother or becoming pregnant usually implies for any woman and that in this case usually involve: irrational and disproportionate fear, recurrent anxiety attacks and even shaking and sweating when thinking about pregnancy.

Types of tokophobia

  • Primary tokophobia

    This type of tokophobia is what affects those women who have never been pregnant and who are therefore new. In these cases, tokophobia is usually associated with the fear of the responsibility that comes with having a baby, the worry about the changes that your body is going to undergo, the fear of suffering during childbirth, that the baby may be born with some anomaly, whether the woman suffers from vaginismus or dyspareunia or whether she has suffered sexual abuse or rape in the past.

  • Secondary tokophobia

    In this case we are talking about women who have already given birth to one or more children and who have normally experienced a dramatic birth. Beyond being treated as tokophobia, these cases are usually more associated with uncured post-traumatic stress that must always be treated by a specialist. Another possible cause of secondary tokophobia may be related to having suffered postpartum depression.

How to overcome tokophobia?

First of all, The most important thing is to contact a specialist or perinatal psychologist, which can give all the necessary tools to overcome this tokophobia disorder. With its help you will be able to search for the origin of those fears and begin to delve deeper into them.

In these cases, childbirth preparation classes, practicing sports for pregnant women, doing meditation or using a doula or woman who advises and accompanies pregnant women and who emotionally supports the woman before, during and after childbirth can be useful. .

Definitely, Having adequate support in these cases is key for the woman can normalize that giving birth in a satisfactory, safe and peaceful way is possible and that everything that pregnancy entails does not have to become a dramatic experience.

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