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What Is Tocophobia?

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  • Written By: Valerie Goldberg
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 19 July 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Tocophobia is an irrational fear of pregnancy and childbirth. It is normal for some women, especially first-time moms, to have some anxiety about becoming a parent. A person who suffers from tocophobia, however, has fear so intense that the condition impacts her everyday life. Some women with this condition avoid sex and intimate relationships because they are so overwhelmed with the fear of becoming pregnant.

A person can suffer from tocophobia for a variety of reasons. Some women may have a fear of being a bad parent. Others may be afraid of getting sick or hurt during the pregnancy or childbirthing process. Rape victims also may develop tocophobia as a result of the trauma of being sexually assaulted. A woman who already has one child and had a rough pregnancy or delivery may develop a true fear of going through the process again to have more children.

Treatments are available to help women overcome tocophobia. Left untreated, this disorder can have a negative impact on a woman's marriage or dating life and current children. Talk therapy is one way to treat this disorder. A therapist can help the patient get to the basis of what is causing this irrational fear. Once a psychological professional establishes the basis of the patient's fear, it is easier to find other forms of treatment that will be most effective.

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Some women with tocophobia may respond well to the exposure technique. When a therapist uses this method of treatment, pictures of pregnant women, baby bottles and other things associated with pregnancy are slowly introduced to the patient. As the patient reacts to each new item, the therapist can teach the patient coping skills to overcome the different elements of her fear.

Anti-anxiety medications are another option to which some tocophobia patients respond. Some patients may respond well to sedatives such as diazepam, while others find relief in using antidepressants such as fluoxetine. Certain patients may be put on doses of both types of medication.

It is important for women who believe they are suffering from tocophobia to seek help. Some women may be ashamed to come forward and talk about these symptoms, because they may feel that no one else will understand. Finding the right therapist or psychologist who has experience working with phobia patients can be life-changing for a woman with this condition. Women also should seek peer support by finding online websites and chat groups in which they can Interact with other women suffering from the same phobia.

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