In A Better You, Phobias & Fears

Tokophobia or Fear of Getting Pregnant

There are many psychological disorders in the world that we simply do not understand. From common anxiety to ‘out there’ phobias, people everywhere are struggling. For some people these struggles change their lives in minute ways: perhaps they avoid going to the grocery store or they avoid cinemas. For others, like those suffering from Tokophobia, their illness can change the course of their life and the lives of their family members for good.

Tokophobia is a severe psychological disorder that affects women, and their families, all around the world. Tokophobia is basically summed up by the irrational fear of pregnancy in severe cases and a general fear of having children in other cases. Let’s take a deeper look into this unsettling psychological disorder in order to understand, and help those that suffer from the phobia of getting pregnant.

Defining Tokophobia

The work Tokophobia is derived from the Greek words ‘tokos’ and ‘phobos’ which means ‘childbirth fear’. As the name implies, Tokophobia focuses on women who are afraid of pregnancy. This fear of giving birth is not, in itself, that unusual because it is such a huge life event. Many women fear the process of having a baby and they usually carry a little bit of anxiety with them throughout the process. Tokophobia comes into play when this fear is exacerbated to extreme measures. Casual worries become full blown panic attacks, general anxiety becomes true panic, and common pregnancy fears turn into true terror.

Primary and Secondary Tokophobia

Tokophobia exists in two different states for the people that are suffering from it. There is the primary form of Tokophobia as well as the secondary form. Let’s take a look at their differences so as to get a better understanding of how they work.

  • Primary Tokophobia – The primary form of this debilitating disorder rises before any form of pregnancy. The fear of having a baby typically instills itself at the beginning of adolescence. There may be no clear path to trace the origins of this fear of childbirth. One day the fear seemingly existed.
  • Secondary Tokophobia – The secondary form of this disorder comes about due to previous experiences. Many women with this phobia of pregnancy have experienced some sort of physical or mental trauma in their life. Sexual abuse, troublesome births, and other intense pains can be a root cause of the problem at hand.

Tokophobia Is Rare, but Not Unheard Of

Studies show that this pregnancy phobia afflicts anywhere from 3% to 8% of women in the world. Though those numbers seem small they still represent hundreds of thousands of women worldwide. As we have learned above this fear can represent itself in many different ways. The person suffering from the disorder can have a deep seeded, from birth, fear of being pregnant or they can be traumatized by past experiences. As you can see this disorder does not care about age, race, creed, or wealth. It is truly an indiscriminate problem.

Common Tokophobia Symptoms

If you or someone you know may be suffering from Tokophobia then it is important to keep an eye out for common symptoms. Tokophobia is similar to any other form of mental illness in that it can only get worse if left untreated. Many people are afraid to step on the toes of their friends and families in regards to this disorder because sex, and the consequences, seem too personal. It is worth it, however, in our eyes in order to help them out. So here are common symptoms to be aware of:

  • Depression During Pregnancy – While it is common for pregnant women to go through mood changes due to the stressors of pregnancy, prolonged depression is still something to keep an eye out for. Constant ‘lows’ should send off a red flag.
  • Dread and Anxiety – As we mentioned above, pregant people are normally more than a little anxious for their childbirth. This is understandable, pregnancy is stressful and there is life on the line. When this stress turns into full blown dread and constant anxiety there is definitely an issue. If this dread is prolonged then there might be more at play than meets the eye.
  • Over-usage of Contraceptives – Contraceptives are the best way to stay sexually healthy and away from getting pregnant. Yet, when there is an insistence on multiple overlapping contraceptives this might be a signal of a baby phobia. Combining ‘the pill’ with a condom as well as another form of contraceptive may be bordering on a true phobia of babies. This fear of babies, and pregnancy, could be a sign of Tokophobia.
  • Certainty of Birth Defect – A common fear of pregnant women is the idea that their baby will come out with some sort of defect or complication in the pregnancy. While it is normal to ponder on these dark thoughts occasionally mothers should not constantly hold this fear of having a baby. These fears could turn into obsession which results in all sorts of problems

Treating Tokophobia

If you, or someone you know, is afraid of getting pregnant and you fear that Tokophobia may be at play then it behooves you to try and treat the problem at hand. Let’s take a look at a few ways that treatment can come into play for this common phobia of pregnant women.

  • Seek Professional Help – Tokophobia is a psychological disorder much like anxiety or PTSD and, as such, it can be treated accordingly. Going to a psychiatrist and an obstetrician to talk about your fears is almost necessary in order to address the problem at hand. These physical and mental health professionals will help you attack your phobia at its foundation. Whether you developed Tokophobia due to a primary or secondary event is irrelevant as there are options available for you.
  • Speak Openly With Your Partner – If you find that Tokophobia may be hindering the romantic relationship you have for your significant other then it is time to open up an honest discussion. Many people get frustrated when confronted with a belief that they do not understand. If your partner doesn’t understand your Tokophobia then explain it to them. Being able to vent about your fears will go a long way toward help your relationship.
  • Join a Support Group – We come back to ‘discussion’ as the key way to address psychological disorders. Merely getting your fears out of your own echo chamber can go a long way toward addressing and remedying them. Support groups exist in cities all over the world. They are presided over by professionals and attended by similarly suffering individuals.

As you can see, Tokophobia is a disorder unlike many other disorders. The condition strikes women both young and old, rich and poor, without regard for the other aspects of their life. While the disorder exists in under 10% of women it still effects every single person that they are friends and family to. In order to adequately treat Tokophobia it is important to analyze, understand, and try to comprehend the issues that these brave women may be facing. Tokophobia is not permanent and, like other disorders, it can be treated so as not to become a life long burden.

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  • Christine Ferguson
    Oct 29, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    Wow! I’m to old to have children now, but I never knew what was wrong with me until now.

  • Christine Ferguson
    Dec 09, 2015 at 08:16 am

    Wow! I’m to old to have children now, but I never knew what was wrong with me until now.

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