The Fear of Giving Birth – Can You Help Your Loved One Overcome it?

Fear of giving birth can overshadow all of pregnancy. You want to remember nice memories from these 9 months but what if you are not the one with fear but it is someone you care about – friend, sister, partner?

Is there something you can do?

First, do not mistake fear for phobia. Tokophobia is a Greek word (tokos- childbirth + phobos- fear) meaning significant fear of childbirth that is comparable with someone fearing spiders so much he screams and jumps on the chair when he sees one. Then he qualifies as an arachnophobe. Depression and anxiety are also a special category. However, anxiety, as well as panic attacks can be one of the consequences of tokophobia. All are closely connected and I think even if it is 2019 all are neglected topics. They should not be. Let’s look at them closer:

This pathological excessive fear of pregnancy and giving birth gives a woman such morbid serious fear, that she does all to avoid pregnancy at all. This is called primary tokophobia. It may be triggered by having a pregnant woman with a scary experience in her life, simply be her fearing the unknown, having wrong information on childbirth or in the worst case scenario, she went through a traumatic experience such as witnessing a childbirth at a young age or sexual attack.
Secondary tokophobia, on the other hand, occurs in women who have already experienced childbirth with traumatic events or they lost a child. Primary or secondary, be there for her, explore care and support groups together, attend antenatal classes, learn about hypnobirthing or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

All mums worry and stress. But anxiety can get really serious and affect the unborn too so look out for signals: external (irritable, restless, very worried and not being able to control it) or internal (racing heartbeat, sweating, tense muscles, feeling uneasy and dizzy) and nip it in the bud before there is an issue or a diagnosis. Read more on about how to help a friend with anxiety here.


Fear of Birth

  1. Plenty of mums worry for emotional reasons (yes, your lives will change but not necessarily in a had way), and for physiological ones too (yes, her body will change, but support her in embracing it). I bet you have also read all about scary ways a birth can happen (from tearing to C-section). Well, she might have an easy one or a tougher one, but if she lived a healthy 9 months, once she is in the hospital, you can not affect it much. But I can tell you, in recovery when the little bundle of joy rests, there are plenty of ways how to help. After all, Mothers Day is fastly approaching! Have a new mum in your life? From vitamins, creams, maternity shapewear to pelvic floor trainer by Aniball UK, there are plenty of practical gifts out there. Still, be a sport and throw in a chocolate too 🙂

Conclusion? You are definitely important for that special woman in your life in that special period of her life and if not overcome the fear, you can definitely make it more bearable. Wishing you all luck!


This is a collaborative post.

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I’m Rachel, a 30 something Mum to 6 year old Little Man & 2 year old twin girls (one with us & one in the sky).

I’m an anxiety sufferer, list writer and secret chocolate eater.

Join me going from anxious to organised.

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