What is it?

Tokophobia is an extreme fear of childbirth. This condition primarily affects people designated female at birth, but a small number of people designated male at birth also experience it. Tokophobia is a specific phobia that causes fear of a particular situation.

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Signs & symptoms

Tokophobia affects your thoughts and behaviors. Many people with tokophobia suffer from depression. They’re are also likely to experience negative outcomes.
-Thoughts and behaviors: Fear of pregnancy may cause you to:
* Avoid sexual intercourse.
* Not feel emotionally connected to your unborn child.
* Not feel excited about pregnancy.
* Try to hide the fact that you’re pregnant.
* Feel disconnected from your partner or loved ones.
* Negative pregnancy outcomes

- People who have an extreme fear of giving birth are more likely to:
* Choose a Cesarean birth (C-section), even though a safe vaginal delivery is possible.
* Seek an abortion if they become pregnant.
* Put their baby up for adoption.


Tokophobia is often diagnosed during healthcare provider visits for other reasons.
* People who aren't pregnant: During annual exams, healthcare providers ask about contraception and plans to start a family. This is an excellent opportunity to discuss your concerns about childbirth.
* People who are pregnant: Regular prenatal exams include questions about your mental health. Answering these questions honestly helps healthcare providers detect tokophobia.


A common tokophobia treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Undergoing CBT helps you identify the aspects of childbirth that are fueling the phobia. You can also learn healthy coping methods by working with a mental health professional.
Additional methods for overcoming tokophobia may include:
* Antidepressants: If you have depression, antidepressants can help. These medications balance brain chemicals responsible for regulating mood.
* Hypnotherapy: Hypnotherapy uses focused relaxation to achieve a heightened sense of awareness. While in this state, a mental health provider helps you explore subconscious thoughts that are holding you back.
* Stress reduction: Yoga, meditation and other relaxation techniques clear your mind. This may make you feel more confident about childbirth.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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