Tocophobia: when a woman is afraid of childbirth

Tocophobia (from the Greek "tocos", childbirth, and "phobia", fear) is the fear of childbirth. This is not the simple anxiety common to many women during pregnancy, but a real disorder that was identified and defined only in 2000 by researchers Kristina Hofberg and Ian Brockington. If the fear of childbirth is something normal and physiological for almost every woman, tocophobia accentuates this fear until it becomes a real obsession with symptoms such as palpitations, tachycardia, a sense of anguish, sweating and panic attacks.

According to the study conducted in Great Britain, as many as 35% of the 900 women examined were found to be suffering from tocophobia, with an excessive fear of childbirth, almost uncontrollable and very difficult to manage: a real psychological disorder, in short. But what scares a woman suffering from tocophobia so much?

The fear that most can haunt a tocophobic is that of pain associated with labor: the idea of ​​suffering or being injured generates an uncontrolled anxiety, as well as that of hurting the baby during childbirth. In extreme cases, one can come to fear one's own death and / or that of the child. Some women, on the other hand, are afraid of birth itself, that is of the idea of ​​giving birth to a child and not being able to be his mother. There are also cases of tocophobia linked to a general distrust of the medical staff. especially if you have already had traumatic experiences in the past that have left their mark.

The Hofberg and Brockington study showed that tocophobia does not occur in the absence of a desire for motherhood, quite the contrary! It is a more frequent ailment in women who wish to become mothers, but who - despite the strong desire - are terrified by the idea of ​​giving birth. The same study also reveals that many of the women who suffer from this fear also suffer from post stress. - traumatic due to abuse suffered during childhood. Finally, it seems that tocophobia is one of the causes of abortion not to be underestimated: some women, for fear of childbirth, choose to terminate the pregnancy or to avoid it altogether.

Before delving further into the topic by analyzing the difference between primary and secondary tocophobia, symptoms and treatment of the disorder, let's ease our fears for a moment with this funny video ... what would happen if a man were to give birth instead of a woman?

Primary and secondary tochophobia

Tocophobia can be of two different types: primary or secondary. We speak of primary tocophobia when the fear of childbirth has always been present in women, even before conception. In these cases it can become a deterrent in choosing to be a mother: many women who suffer from it choose not to even try so much the fear of childbirth is strong and paralyzing.

Primary tochophobia usually develops since adolescence and can be caused by various psychological factors: if our mother has had a traumatic birth in turn, if we are witnessing a child birth without an adequate explanation, if we have been abused sexual during childhood or - in some cases - even in later life. Finally, it can be a symptom of ongoing depression.

Secondary tochophobia, on the other hand, mainly affects women who have already had a "negative experience of childbirth and still suffer from post-traumatic stress. It is a frequent psychological reaction if during pregnancy they underwent invasive obstetric maneuvers, particularly labor difficult or an emergency cesarean delivery that was not planned.

You can suffer from secondary tocophobia even if the first birth took place on a regular basis, but it was experienced by the woman as a violence against her own body. Also in this case we can speak of post-traumatic stress disorder in the context of post partum depression.

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What symptoms does it present with?

How do you recognize tocophobia from a normal anxiety about childbirth, which is common to most women, especially during the last months of pregnancy? The symptoms of tochophobia are far more powerful than those of a common fear of labor. It is in fact a real phobia that can lead to obsessive thoughts, such as the fear of dying or not being able to sustain such great pain.

This fear, like many other phobias, is accompanied by physical symptoms that can include loss of concentration, panic attacks, paralyzing anxiety, anguish and nervousness, crying fits, irritation and loss of self-esteem, rapid heartbeat, wheezing, fainting or dizziness, nausea, dry mouth, excessive sweating, tremors, insomnia.

It is therefore not a simple anxiety, but a disorder that can become disabling, especially if it continues for all the months of pregnancy or even later, in the form of postpartum depression. Furthermore, this fear can lead to complications even in the very moment of labor. If the problem is underestimated and not treated with adequate therapy, it can have very serious consequences for the woman and her family.

Treatment and prevention

Tocophobia can only be cured with adequate psychological support.Psychotherapy is essential, especially in the initial phase of pregnancy, to be able to understand the trauma at the origin of the disorder and to help the woman become aware of it and overcome her fear or, at least, live with it in the best way. If you realize the problem in the first trimester of pregnancy, therapy can help to "untie the psychological knots" that keep us tied to our fears and our past.

The doctors and all the staff who will be present at the time of delivery must know the problem of the future mother in order to be able to accompany her in the best possible way during gestation and, even before, involving her in the planning of an adequate therapeutic plan, which can make them complete. giving birth in the best possible way for your health and that of your baby.

Alongside psychotherapy, it can be very useful to combine other activities such as yoga, autogenic training, breathing exercises or relaxation. Finally, attending the body before birth is very important to release tension and feel more prepared for the event that scares us so much.

Tags:  Horoscope Old-Test - Psyche Properly