Tocophobia is an intense anxiety, or fear of pregnancy and childbirth; with some women avoiding pregnancy and childbirth altogether. As many as one in six women suffer from tocohpobia, and in present day this statistic is on the rise.
Signs of Tocophobia and Childbirth Anxiety Disorder
- Constant fear of pregnancy; sometimes bordering on irrational worries and racing thoughts much like paranoia
- Multiple contraceptive use, and in some cases multiple abortions to avoid pregnancy
- Experiencing panic attacks, nausea, dizziness, sweating, and hyperventilation; at the sight of other pregnant women and or adolescents
- If pregnant a incessant preoccupation with body image and the changes of physical appearance due to pregnancy
- Poor eating habits due to a sense of morphed body image while pregnant
- Fear of the pain of childbirth to the point of requesting to be put under to deliver the baby
Tocophobia, at its worst causes women to go to great lengths to avoid getting pregnant. Contraceptive use is profound in this phobia, usually using more than one to avoid pregnancy. The phobia or fear is so great that even when using multiple contraceptives, and tracking your ovulation cycle you still have constant racing thoughts, and fears of becoming pregnant. In many cases, a woman may have multiple abortions to avoid unwanted pregnancy, and childbirth; which renders its more common name, Childbirth Anxiety Disorder.
Common fears or thoughts of tocophobia are ideas such as; the changing of your physical appearance if conception occurs, losing control of ones body, or the pain associated with actual childbirth. Some women have stated that even the sight of another pregnant female can trigger crying, hyperventilation, sweating and nausea. Panic attacks can happen to women with or without children in this phobia disorder.
Women who are already pregnant can have such strong fears and anxiety of childbirth that they will purposely request a Caesarian with full anesthesia. The request to be put under is due to the intense fear of being awake for the process of delivery.
Sometimes, those who are tocophobia suffer from an eating disorder or have been sexually abused as children. The idea of changing eating habits or the body becoming bigger produces anxiety in women suffering from this illness. It is said that phobia’s can run in families and are triggered by traumatic events in a person’s life.
Often time’s young women are told horror stories by friends, and family of pregnancy or childbirth to deter them from an unwanted pregnancy; in turn causing extreme fears later in life, and as a new mother.
What are the treatments for Tocophobia?
- Seeking a mental health care professional in congruence with your obstetrician; cognitive psychotherapy, and counseling are the leading remedies
- Anxiety medications
- Interpersonal psychotherapy with a medical prenatal psychiatrist; where past fears can be addressed, and certain unhealthy behavior patterns can be cataloged
If you are experiencing any of the listed symptoms, and it interferes with your daily life, or the term of your pregnancy it is important to consult with your doctor immediately. It is also important to seek have a good support system with either friends or family to share your fears with and work through your anxiety. Never let the stigma or fear of your phobia keep you from seeking medical attention.