TOKOPHOBIA: a fear of childbirth!

Arachnophobia and claustrophobia we've all heard of, and possibly even know someone who has these. But TOKOphobia? We had NEVER heard of it until last week!

Yes, it's a real word - and it means a fear of CHILDBIRTH! I thought fear of childbirth was just called 'normal' - but it turns out that fear and anxiety can reach high levels in some women - so much so that they avoid pregnancy and birth all together.

Wikipedia defines Tokophobia as:

A significant fear of childbirth. It is the most common reason why some women request an elective cesarean section. The fear often includes fear of injury to the baby, genital tract, or death. Treatment may occur via counselling. In 2000, an article published in the British Journal of Psychiatry described the fear of childbirth as a psychological disorder that has received little attention and may be overlooked.

Did you know that Tokophobia can affect women who have never given birth, and those who have birthed a child before?

So the important question is... how can we support women with tokophobia?

The British Journal of Psychiatry suggests that counselling can help some women overcome a fear of getting pregnant or getting through a birth.

New Mama Kit is all about supporting women as they transition into motherhood, including the lead up to her birthing day - which can be daunting for some women. For this reason we select items that help women relax and feel calmer when they might be anxious, including:

  • Scented candle: to light as a ritual to calm down, or even write her fears on a piece of paper and burn it away with the flame
  • Note pad: To write down any fears that come up, to discuss with a friend, partner or birth support and work through.
  • Herbal Tea: to physically take in some calming herbs and give her a moment to herself
  • Affirmation cards: To turn some key fears and flip them over into something more inspiring... for example 'I have no idea what I'm doing' TO 'I know what's best for my baby'

Do you have some great strategies for overcoming fears or TOKOPHOBIA? We'd love to hear them and try to include them in our hampers.

Below we have an up to date list for Australian women to access if you or someone you love is experiencing tokophobia.