Reply To: What is Tocophobia?


The medical term “tocophobia” or “tokophobia” is derived from Greek “tokos” (birth, chidbirth, parturition, labor) + “phobos” (fear). Tocophobia is defined as an irrational or abnormal fear of childbirth. Tocophobia or Tokophobia is also known as parturiphobia or maieusiophobia or maieuticophobia (Greek “maieutikós” – pertaining to midwifery or obstetrics + “phobos” – fear).

Classification of Tocophobia / Tokophobia

Following 3 types of tocophobia are recognized:

Primary Tocophobia (Primary Tokophobia)
– It is defined as a morbid fear of childbirth in a woman that starts before getting pregnant for the first time. The fear of childbirth may begin in adolescence or early adulthood. Such a woman avoids pregnancy to prevent parturition (labor or childbirth).

Secondary Tocophobia (Secondary Tokophobia)
– It is defined as a pathological fear of childbirth that starts after a distressing obstetric event in the previous pregnancy, which most commonly is a difficult or traumatic delivery. But, tocophobia may even emerge after an obstetrically normal delivery, stillbirth (birth of a child that died before or during delivery), miscarriage, or termination of pregnancy.

Tocophobia / Tokophobia Associated with Prenatal Depression
– In some women, tocophobia may occur as a symptom of depression in the antenatal period (prenatal period).

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