The Mating Grounds

Overcoming Tokophobia: Coping Strategies for Fear of Pregnancy and Childbirth

Understanding Tokophobia: Definition, Types, and

Coping Strategies

Pregnancy is usually considered a joyous and exciting time in a woman’s life. However, for some, the thought of being pregnant can engender feelings of dread, anxiety, and even terror.

If you’re one of the many women who experience this, you might be suffering from tokophobia. What is Tokophobia?

Tokophobia is the fear of pregnancy and childbirth. It’s a relatively common condition that affects between 6-10% of women globally.

It can range from mild anxiety to a complete avoidance of discussing or even considering the idea of pregnancy. The causes of this condition can be due to many factors, including traumatic experiences, medical conditions, child abuse, and personal experiences.

Primary Tokophobia

Primary tokophobia appears in women who have a long-standing fear of being pregnant, even if they’ve never experienced it before. These women usually avoid sex and contraception altogether and often feel isolated and anxious when it comes to the idea of having a baby.

Secondary Tokophobia

Secondary tokophobia appears in women who have had a traumatic experience during a previous pregnancy. This often includes:(a) experiencing a horror story about childbirth from a family member or close friend, which can lead to anxiety and fear.

(b) having a previous traumatic birth experience and feeling guilty about not enjoying it. (c) the loss of a baby during childbirth.

Women who experience secondary tokophobia may choose to avoid getting pregnant entirely or contemplate opting for caesarean section instead of a vaginal delivery.

Coping Strategies

There are many coping strategies women can use to deal with tokophobia, depending on their circumstances.


If you experience tokophobia, you may decide to use contraception as a means of preventing pregnancy.

Avoidance of Sex

Avoiding sex altogether may seem a bit extreme, but it’s a valid choice that many women make in dealing with their tokophobia. This is particularly prevalent in women with primary tokophobia, who may have never experienced sexual intercourse before.


If you decide to go ahead with getting pregnant, your fear of a vaginal birth may be considerable. In that case, Cesarean might be an option.


Choosing to adopt rather than having to go through pregnancy can provide a way of starting a family without as much potential for anxiety and fear.


Therapy is an effective way to help people deal with their tokophobia. A therapist can help you identify the root cause of your anxiety and help you work through your feelings.


Journaling is a useful way to externalize your thoughts and emotions, particularly those related to your tokophobia. Writing down your fears, hopes, and dreams around pregnancy can help you make sense of your thoughts and work through them.


Reflection involves spending time alone to meditate, think, and process your thoughts. It’s an opportunity to check in with yourself and your feelings around pregnancy and childbirth.


Mindfulness is the process of paying attention to the present moment and your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. It’s a powerful tool for reducing anxiety and stress and can help you feel more centered and relaxed.

Overcoming Tokophobia

It’s essential to acknowledge your fear of pregnancy and childbirth and take steps to overcome your anxiety. The first step is to recognize your feelings and accept them.

Denying or suppressing feelings of anxiety can be counterproductive and lead to further stress and anxiety.

Seeking Professional Help

Professional help from a therapist or counselor can be helpful in dealing with tokophobia. During sessions, they can help you understand your symptoms and feelings, provide coping strategies, and work through traumatic experiences.

Anxiety-Reducing Exercises

Exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety and make you feel more confident and competent. Try walking, cycling, or swimming to help you unwind and boost your mood.


Meditation is an effective way to cope with anxiety and stress. It’s easy to learn and requires no special equipment, so it’s an accessible and straightforward way to promote relaxation and reduce fear.

In conclusion, tokophobia is a common condition that can be managed with appropriate strategies. By acknowledging your feelings, seeking professional help, and employing coping mechanisms like mindfulness, therapy, and journaling, you can overcome your fear and reclaim your life.

Remember, you’re not alone. Many others also struggle with tokophobia, but there are several ways to seek help and support.

In conclusion, tokophobia is a condition that affects many women and can result in significant distress. Understanding the condition’s causes, types, and coping mechanisms is crucial in overcoming this condition.

You can take steps to manage your anxiety and fear, allowing you to move forward and start a family without as much stress and concern. If you’re struggling with tokophobia, it’s important to seek professional help or rely on coping techniques such as mindfulness, therapy, and journaling.

Remember, you’re not alone, and with the right support and treatment, you can overcome your fears and start your journey towards a happy and fulfilled life.

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