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Anxiety and Fear of Birth

Tokophobia- Are You Scared of Giving Birth?

Pregnancy and child birth can feel overwhelming and this is perfectly natural. Many women and birthing partners however may experience deep fear and anxiety at even the thought of pregnancy or birth.

I am here to help you. I can provide a range of successful and effective treatments using the most powerful techniques from Birth Trauma Resolution Therapy. I have been supporting women and their parents during their pregnancies and helped them to feel calm, safe, confident and empowered to birth their babies the way they want, free from fear or feelings of being judged.


What is Tokophobia?

Tokophobia comes from the Greek “tokos”, meaning childbirth, and “phobos”, meaning fear.

Fear of pregnancy and childbirth can be so intense that women may be avoiding getting pregnant, may find their love life and family life affected or may fear for their life at the thought of giving birth. Levels of this fear range across a very large spectrum, from mild anxiety or distress to extreme debilitating fear and panic attacks.

Tokophobia was first classified in medical literature in 2000, when Kristina Hofberg and Professor Ian Brockington developed a two-tiered classification depending on the root of the condition.


Primary Tokophobia is usually connected to a first pregnancy prior to personal experience of giving birth. This may be triggered by watching a TV program about pregnancy or birth, or possibly reading or hearing a negative story from a sibling or family member. You may have witnessed someone else’s birth or were perhaps the birth partner (men and women can be equally affected by Tokophobia). Very often you may not know why you are feeling like this.

Secondary Tokophobia is often connected to birth trauma or an event that left you traumatised such miscarriage, termination or stillbirth. You may experience flashbacks, nightmares, reliving the events in your head or feeling dissociated. Symptoms may often have similarities to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).


How do I know if I have tokophobia?

  • Are you avoiding talking about pregnancy?

  • Are you scared of getting pregnant and thinking that pregnancy is causing you anxiety, nightmares or other symptoms?

  • Do you fear experiencing any type of birth?

  • Have you had thoughts of terminating a pregnancy because of fear of birth?

  • Are you expecting a baby but extremely fearful of the birth of your baby?

  • You may be feeling fearful of pain during birth.

  • Do you have memories of events in your past that may have initiated this phobia?

  • Do you fear that you or your baby might die during birth?

  • You may be cosidering an elective caesarean birth instead of vaginal birth due to an extreme fear.

  • Perhaps you fear things connected to birth, for example your care providers like midwives or even being in a hospital.

  • You may be experiencing symptoms such as anxiety, nightmares, reoccurring bad dreams of birth, panic attacks, feeling nauseous or other bodily PHYSICAL responses while thinking or hearing about birth.

  • Have you seen, heard or read something connected to birth that has scared you and now you are reliving these things or having flashbacks?


Can Tokophobia affect medical professionals and health workers?

  • You may have been involved in assisting in a vaginal or surgical birth or witnessed birth that has been traumatic or was very fast and uncontrollable in your perception.

  • You may have witnessed an upsetting or traumatising event while pregnant.

  • You may have been involved in a difficult case or took part in debriefing clients who suffered trauma, PTSD, pregnancy loss, or experienced sexual abuse, rape or assault.

  • You may feel fearful of going back to work to assist with births or care for pregnant women.


If you have answered YES to any of the above questions you are highly likely to be suffering with Tokophobia. You are not alone! Between 5 to 20 percent of pregnant women suffer with fear of birth. You are in the right place. Even though it is scary and unsettling, its ok to feel like this.

I am here to support you.

To discuss and book, please contact Magdalena here


What can I do to help?

I believe you can have a beautiful, serene and peaceful birth no matter what type of birth you ultimately will have on the day. I would love to see you happy and free of any anxieties. What I provide at Birth Therapies are flexible, bespoke treatments uniquely tailored to you and the severity of your fear and anxiety and will be created to help you swiftly transition into a phobia free life and relaxed pregnancy.


Your bespoke and personalised treatment may include, where appropriate:

  • Debrief and listening to your fears without judgement and with kindness, understanding and care.

  • A Treatment plan where we set up goals together and come up with solutions that are easily achievable and will enhance progress in treatment.

  • Deep Relaxation techniques and breathing methods to efficiently and easily lower your arousal (for example anxiety and panic attacks),

  • Rewind to treat phobias using neurolinguistic programming (NLP) as a phobia cure.

  • Positive birth rehearsal to enhance effectiveness of the therapy.

  • A range of treatments to release fears.

  • Bespoke audio download with personalised guided visualisation for relaxation.

  • A range of treatments for helping with anxieties depending on client needs

  • Confidence building treatments to allow you to enjoy every step of your birth and beyond as a parent/health professional.

What else can I do if I have Tokophobia?

  • If you are expecting or even thinking of conceiving and have Tokophobia; share this fear with someone close to you, a partner, a friend or a relative. Perhaps, you may wish to talk about this fear with your GP or a mental health professional.

  • If you are pregnant you may wish to discuss your birth preferences with your local hospital Consultant and midwife. This can be great way to discuss and talk through your needs that will allow you to have a positive experience. You may wish to practice Hypnobirthing which is the most profound way of learning relaxation techniques which will help with any type of birth and beyond.

  • NICE guidelines  now support women with tokophobia to have a caesarean section (if you are fearful of vaginal birth) after receiving the support from their medical health providers and weighing up all the risks and benefits of different birth modes. You will be supported with your birth option as it is in everyone’s interest to ensure your mental and physical wellbeing is paramount.




I am also here to assist and to be your advocate for your chosen birth preferences. I am happy to give you guidance on the latest research, guidelines, standards and procedures that you may wish to consider and talk through with your healthcare professional. This may help you feel fully supported and cared for the way you want, as well as having a good relationship with the medical providers. Please, contact me for more information.

The techniques and therapies are suitable for most and I need to be aware of previous mental health disorders such as psychosis, paranoia, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder before a session. In addition, those with epilepsy would require their GP to confirm in writing that you are fit for the treatment.


Please Note: I will not be able to give you any medical advice regarding your pregnancy or health issues. Please see your midwife or GP.

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