Tokophobia is the extreme fear of getting pregnant and giving birth. This condition can occur in women who have never been pregnant or in women who have experienced a traumatic event during pregnancy or facing a previous delivery.
Pregnancy and childbirth are both exciting and thrilling experiences for most women. So, it is natural that many women are afraid of getting pregnant or afraid of giving birth. However, usually this fear can be fought and will disappear by itself after giving birth.
This is different from tokophobia. Women who have tokophobia tend to think of pregnancy and childbirth as something very scary and dangerous. This very strong fear of pregnancy and fear of giving birth will cause the sufferer to not want to get pregnant at all.
Types of Tokophobia
Tokophobia is divided into two types, namely primary tokophobia and secondary tokophobia. Here is the explanation:
Primary tokophobia is an unnatural fear of pregnancy and childbirth that occurs in women who have never been pregnant or given birth at all. This phobia usually appears during adolescence, but can also be experienced by adult women who are married.
Primary tokophobia can occur in women who have had a bad experience or traumatic event in the past, for example as a result of sexual harassment or rape. This condition can also occur because you have seen a labor process that experienced complications, such as bleeding after giving birth.
Secondary tokophobia is a fear of pregnancy or childbirth experienced by women who have given birth. This fear of getting pregnant or giving birth usually arises from a traumatic birth experience, such as a miscarriage or a stillbirth.stillbirth), so they are afraid to get pregnant and give birth again.
Sometimes, PTSD symptoms (post-traumatic stress disorder) experienced by women after giving birth can be one sign of tokophobia. It is not uncommon for tokophobia to be mistaken for postpartum depression because the symptoms can be similar.
The Impacts and Risks of Tokophobia
Women who have tokophobia will feel afraid, anxious, and tend to avoid thoughts or topics of conversation related to pregnancy and childbirth.
When you see someone pregnant or giving birth, or even just thinking about these two things, people with tokophobia may experience:
- Anxious and restless
- Chest fluttering
- Panic attack
- Hard to sleep
Because it is difficult to control their fear, many women who suffer from tokophobia decide not to get pregnant, even though she or her partner may actually want to have children.
In fact, some people with tokophobia will use all means to not get pregnant and give birth, from not having sex to having an abortion. If you are already pregnant and will give birth, people with tokophobia may prefer to give birth by caesarean section.
If tocophobia is not treated, a woman who has a phobia of pregnancy can have problems establishing relationships with her partner, especially if her partner wants to have children. In addition, women who suffer from tokophobia are also prone to depression during pregnancy and postpartum depression.
Some Ways to Overcome Tokophobia
If you are afraid of getting pregnant or giving birth and this condition is felt to be interfering with your relationship with your partner or hindering your desire to have children, you can consult a gynecologist. If needed, your doctor may refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist.
To overcome tokophobia, there are several efforts that can be done, including:
1. Psychotherapy and counseling
To find out why you are afraid of getting pregnant, a psychiatrist or psychologist will first conduct a psychiatric examination. After that, you will undergo counseling and psychotherapy with a psychiatrist or psychologist. This therapy will help you to face the fear you feel so that the tokophobia you experience can be overcome.
2. Use of drugs
To deal with very severe anxiety, depression, or fear, your psychiatrist may prescribe medications, such as sedatives or antidepressants. The use of these drugs is usually only given in the short term and must be under the supervision of a doctor.
So that the tokophobia you experience does not get worse, you can try to: share or share stories with people you trust, such as your spouse, family, or friends, about how you feel.
By expressing your feelings and getting moral support from others, you can ease the feelings of fear of pregnancy and the anxiety associated with tocophobia.
4. Pregnancy class
If the source of your phobia is pain during labor or complications during pregnancy, try taking a pregnancy class.
After getting accurate information about what is happening during your pregnancy and what you can do to manage labor pains, you will feel calmer and will be able to more easily fight the fear of getting pregnant or giving birth due to tocophobia.
The phobia of pregnancy and childbirth or tokophobia can be overcome with proper care and support from partners and people closest to the sufferer. However, treating tokophobia takes time and patience. If you experience this, there is no need to feel embarrassed or ashamed to consult a psychiatrist or obstetrician.