The fear of pregnancy and childbirth may sound strange, but now there are many women experiencing it, both in those who have given birth or have not given birth. The causative factor is often related to the hauntings from pregnancy and childbirth that the person has witnessed or experienced. Psychological care or attending prenatal classes, reading books about pregnancy can gradually help patients overcome this phobia.
What is the fear of pregnancy and childbirth?
The syndrome of pregnancy and childbirth (Tokophobia) is an absolute psychological disease that only occurs in women, with adulthood and older. The disease can occur in both married people, those who have ever given birth or those who have not given birth, who are still single and cause a lot of impact on relationships with family members, especially husband.
It is often said that pregnancy and motherhood is a special task that only a woman can perform and everyone needs to do this. Of course, this is an extremely sacred and special responsibility, so almost no one is ever worried and confused with this. However, the anxiety and panic in people with Tokophobia is completely beyond the feelings of anxiety in normal people.
The fear of pregnancy and childbirth is classified as an anxiety disorder, officially published in the journal Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey and included in the world medical literature in 2000. Accordingly, the term Tokophobia is A combination of the Greek words “tokos” which means to give birth and “phobia” which means irrational fear or obsession.
Surprisingly, the percentage of women with fear of pregnancy and childbirth is quite high, 1 in 10 people has the disease. Especially in the modern era, when the development of social networks and media makes women’s panic and fear more easily affected. However, many people often ignore this fear. He even thinks that his wife is a useful person who only thinks about himself but doesn’t know how to think about his family.
Manifestations of fear of pregnancy and childbirth
As mentioned, it is normal for women to feel afraid of pregnancy, but in fact, they still let this come naturally, pregnancy, although a bit bewildering, still makes them extremely happy, accepting it all. However, people with the syndrome of fear of pregnancy and childbirth often find ways to avoid pregnancy, even falling into extreme panic if they find out that they are pregnant.
Obsessions gradually become an attachment that affects all behaviors and emotions of women and becomes irritated if someone mentions issues such as pregnancy or childbirth. Some typical symptoms of the fear of pregnancy and childbirth are:
- Always try to refuse, delay pregnancy or childbirth through letters refusing to “have sex” with your husband, take birth control pills continuously to avoid pregnancy.
- Panic, nervous, sweating, heart palpitations, feeling short of breath, shaky limbs, high blood pressure every time someone mentions pregnancy or childbirth
- If they are pregnant, they often choose a cesarean section rather than a vaginal birth, even if they can give birth naturally.
- Some people even want to have a hysterectomy to avoid pregnancy or childbirth
- Become more agitated and stressed if someone reminds you of pregnancy or childbirth, and may even argue if someone like your husband or loved one keeps forcing you to get pregnant.
- Obsessions make many people often fall into such stress that having nightmares, dreaming also seeing pregnancy makes the quality of health and spirit increasingly degraded.
It is important to understand that these people still want to have children, but they just cannot control their feelings of anxiety, confusion, and anxiety when thinking about this. They still want to be mothers, still know that their worries are unreasonable but can’t help but worry about these issues.
Causes of fear of pregnancy and childbirth
According to experts, there are two groups of people with Tokophobia: those who have had children and those who have never had children. The causes of the fear of pregnancy and childbirth are also different in these groups.
The group was pregnant and gave birth
Grandparents often have the saying “the door of birth is the door of death” because this is an extremely dangerous process, not knowing for sure what will happen at the time of giving birth. There are numerous complications that can occur during labor such as rupture of membranes, bleeding, low amniotic fluid or infection. Not only that, after giving birth, there are still many problems that make the mother tired such as difficulty walking, back pain, lack of sleep, body loss of shape, wrinkled skin.
Only those who have gone through this stage can fully understand the pain they have to endure during childbirth. Everyone has to bring a different experience, no one is the same. Someone who is mentally comfortable from the beginning, has good health, and has good stamina feel that this is an easy task. But for people with low pain tolerance, it can be felt that giving birth is an extremely arduous and horrible process, beyond imagination that they do not want to have to go through again. The fear of pregnancy and childbirth also arises from this problem.
On the other hand, pregnant women who feel physically exhausted, mentally tired, and negative who often watch painful videos during childbirth or are described by others are also very susceptible to fear of pregnancy and childbirth. child. Because at this time, the psychology of this subject is also very weak and sensitive, when exposed to this information, it is easy to be affected to make the spirit go down.
In addition, those who have problems after giving birth such as husband cheating, declining health, miscarriage, people suffering from postpartum diseases (such as depression during pregnancy or postpartum) are also haunted by phobias. this period.
The group is not pregnant and giving birth
The fear of pregnancy and childbirth can completely occur in people who have never been pregnant or even have never been married. With these groups of subjects, their obsessions often come from external self-effects. These people may be so worried and afraid that they will become pregnant that they don’t want to get married, and do everything they can to refuse sex, even when they have protection.
Some factors that make this group of people susceptible to Tokophobia include:
- Listen to others describe the pain and fatigue of pregnancy and childbirth
- Seeing a woman completely change in personality, appearance, health after pregnancy and childbirth. These changes are often in a downward direction such as obesity, heavy weight, stretch marks.. making these people feel scared and worried that if they are pregnant, the same will happen.
- Viewing images of pregnancy and childbirth, directly or through the media, is also the reason why people with weak psychology are prone to fear of pregnancy and childbirth.
- Witnessing that husbands commit adultery, change, and abuse their wives and children after their wives get pregnant and give birth also make these groups lose faith and become more afraid of pregnancy or childbirth.
- Women who have been sexually abused are also at risk of contracting the disease because they worry about being pregnant with that person or fear that having a daughter will suffer as much as they do.
What are the consequences of fear of pregnancy and childbirth?
The fear of pregnancy and childbirth is not a normal anxiety, can be relieved with encouragement from others, can go away on its own. The anxiety of a person with Tokophobia is always at a peak, which can easily explode at any time. Especially for those who are pregnant, hormonal changes inherently make them extremely tired, so it is easy to affect.
The phobia of Tokophobia can affect all problems around the patient such as actions, feelings, thoughts. However, not everyone understands this and always thinks that they are selfish, just want to think for themselves and criticize them. Anxiety and frustration when they can’t be relieved make them become negative, irritable and have an extremely high risk of leading to depression.
According to experts, people who are pregnant have a fear of pregnancy and childbirth and depression can cause a lot of effects on the development of the fetus. Babies born to mothers with depression during pregnancy often have developmental delays, increasing the risk of birth defects, especially when the mother has to take drugs to treat this disease.
More negatively, in Tokophobia patients who are not pregnant even ask for a hysterectomy, making those around them even more critical. The relationship between husband and wife or lover is also becoming more and more distant, even if divorced, the husband cannot accept his wife’s illness, or they also tend to have an affair to satisfy sexual needs. or to have children.
Is the fear of pregnancy and childbirth a selfish thing?
With that said, most people always think that the “fear of pregnancy and childbirth” is something very absurd. They say pregnancy or childbirth is a woman’s “responsibility”, anyone can do it, why should his wife be afraid. Very few husbands and parents can understand the nature of this disease, but always think that these are selfish people who only think for themselves, not worthy of being a woman.
In fact, the discomfort and pain of pregnancy can only be understood by women themselves, no words can describe the feelings they have to endure. As a woman who is not afraid of pain, who is not afraid of bad. Not to mention the husbands who always believe that after giving birth, the wife becomes ugly, changes, no longer attractive, does not meet the husband to have an affair.
Although it is a period of gender equality, after giving birth, women are always disadvantaged. The body is sluggish, the back hurts, the limbs are cold, there is no time to take care of themselves because they are always busy taking care of their children. There are people who come to the time to meet friends, the time to go shopping for new clothes no longer makes them gradually separate from life. This is also the reason why so many people suffer from postpartum depression.
The body is a woman’s, they have the full right to choose whether to get pregnant or not and how many times they can get pregnant without anyone having the right to force it, including their husbands or parents. It’s each person’s choice, not selfish at all, even if they don’t have a fear of pregnancy and childbirth.
However, it should be understood that the fear of pregnancy and childbirth is a psychological illness, not a simple anxiety and often comes from a lack of confidence in the future. If appropriate treatment is provided early to relieve these worries, the patient’s mind can gradually return to a normal state, even being ready for childbirth, pregnancy, or normal delivery at any time. any.
Direction of treatment for fear of pregnancy and childbirth
Families should take the patient to hospitals with strong neurological specialties or psychotherapy centers for the best care and support. Patients will be examined and examined professionally through tests and psychological conversations to ensure the most accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Fortunately, current health and social policies also have a lot of priorities for pregnant and childbirth women, and pain-relieving methods of childbirth are now more diverse. However, the treatment of people with the fear of pregnancy and childbirth is not easy.
Tokophobia is a psychological problem that is formed from external influences, so therapy and psychological rehabilitation care are always the first measures to be directed. Patients who respond well to this therapy gradually remove negative entanglements in the past, recognize reality to move towards a brighter, healthier, happier future.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the best ways to improve people with fear of pregnancy and childbirth during therapy. The counselor will talk, share, find ways to go deep into the mind, open the inner door that is becoming extremely frustrating for the patient. At the same time, psychologists themselves help patients understand that the anxiety of childbirth is not so serious and scary at all.
Hypnotherapy is also being used by many institutions for women with Tokophobia. In addition, the therapist also teaches the patient solutions to cope with stress, release emotions, and direct the mind to healthier activities and thoughts. Thanks to that, the period of frustration and difficulty when having to fight between being pregnant and not being pregnant also quickly passed.
Especially for women who suffer from depression during pregnancy or postpartum depression, the negative psychology caused by being forced to become pregnant should be done at an early stage to avoid other bad consequences.
There are no drugs that can eliminate the anxieties, phobias, and fears in people with fear of pregnancy and childbirth. However, in some cases, doctors may prescribe sedatives, antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs to calm nerves and reduce overstimulation for the patient. The use of the drug must be prescribed by a doctor, do not self-administer.
On the other hand, with groups such as pregnant women, postpartum women can’t always take the drug because it can affect the baby. In general, depending on the situation of each person, the specialist will assign the appropriate drug groups to minimize the unwanted situations that may appear.
Learn about pregnancy and get mentally prepared
In fact, there are many women who are only afraid of pregnancy because they are not mentally prepared, so if they suddenly have a baby, it is very easy to fall into confusion and confusion, but this can still make them extremely uncomfortable. happy period. Understanding pregnancy and childbirth, always having a healthy, positive spirit, ready to cope with all difficulties is what not only women but also men should do to help their wives.
Not only those who suffer from the fear of pregnancy and childbirth need to learn this, but everyone should learn it early to avoid the maximum risk of disease. Specifically
- Take prenatal classes to better understand health care during pregnancy or childbirth, as well as how to care for your baby. Currently, there are many antenatal classes that are born, which are extremely suitable for newlyweds to avoid the surprises of having their first baby.
- Learn and share with your own grandmothers, mothers, and aunts. Sure, no matter how painful it is, they are extremely happy to have you born for them. This is the biggest motivation for you to believe that pregnancy is an extremely sacred and precious obligation that you are fortunate to have.
- Learn more about childbirth. Today’s medical industry has a lot of techniques to help relieve pain during childbirth but still ensure safety for both mother and fetus, you can learn about these methods.
- Maintain an exercise routine, make sure to get enough sleep every day, eat a healthy diet. When physically and mentally healthy, negative emotions also gradually disappear, replaced by more positive emotions. Studies also show that in people with positive spirits and scientific activities, the feeling of pain or difficulty in childbirth is also greatly reduced.
- For those who suffer from fear of pregnancy and childbirth due to the influence of the previous birth, they should spend more time taking care of their health and psychology, and spending more time resting. Once you understand about childbirth and prepare yourself mentally for the next pregnancy, these feelings also gradually subside.
Support from husband and relatives
Pregnancy or childbirth is not only the responsibility of the woman, but also the husband. It is the warmth and trustworthiness of the husband that can dispel all worries about the ugly, scary things during pregnancy or childbirth in the wife. When the wife has a mental illness, but the husband often criticizes, argues, and forces his wife to do things they don’t like, it cannot be relieved.
To help the wife with fear of pregnancy and early childbirth overcome this stage, it is necessary to pay attention to the following issues:
- Absolutely do not mention or force your wife to have a baby or talk too much about this issue, causing the wife to be pressured
- Take prenatal classes with your wife, learn how to take care of your baby, and wait when your wife is really ready
- Ask your wife if she wants to get pregnant instead of making the decision yourself. If your wife is not ready, take the initiative to use protection when having sex, don’t let your wife take birth control pills or other unhealthy measures.
- Make your wife feel protected, prove yourself trustworthy. In fact, when women have security, nothing can make them afraid, on the other hand, they want to have children more because that is the proof and crystallization of the love of both.
- Create the best environment and conditions to help your wife rest and relax during pregnancy or childbirth
- Learn about pregnancy or childbirth issues so that you can encourage and support your wife at any time.
The fear of pregnancy and childbirth is one of the psychological problems that many people have, but it is often ignored, thinking that this is unreasonable. Of course, whether pregnancy or childbirth is a responsibility that is not simple, but extremely sacred and noble, only a woman can be given this vocation. Preparing both mentally and physically will help you accept this mission more easily, no longer carrying excessive worries.