Pregnancy and childbirth are exciting experiences for most women, even though laced with some amount of anxiety. However, a few women fail to control their fears and may slip into a condition called tocophobia in which panic sets in about delivery.
A woman who is now into the fifth month of her pregnancy is an example. She conceived two years after marriage. Her husband says she was apprehensive about getting pregnant and delivery from the start of their wedded life. “Initially, she even refused conjugal relationship fearing the consequnces. She pleaded with me not to have children!” the husband adds.
However, the woman finally became pregnant after two years and relatives of the couple became happy; but not the would-be mother, who started showing signs of stress and even began crying over her condition every day.
The husband took her to a gynaecologist. “Kindly help me avoid a normal delivery; carry out a caesarean,” she pleaded with the doctor.
While informing the carrying woman that such decisions would be taken only later, the gynaecologist severely scolded her.
The husband was perplexed. His wife was a science graduate, but could not accept the fact that pregnancy and childbirth are natural and a woman should be proud of it.
The woman feared diseases and injections and was now displaying unusual behaviour. The husband was concerned if the developments would affect the child in the womb?
How to deal with the situation
Most of the women are able to overcome their fears about pregnancy and childbirth as they would be excited and happy about becoming a mother. Labour pains are felt by all women who deliver normally. This thought calms their anxious mind. In addition, a good gynaecologist and caring support for family members would help reduce such apprehensions. Even then, some women are unable to control their fright, leading to tocophobia.
The first step to handle the situation is to take it up the issue earnestly with the gynaecologist. Advice and a caring approach from the doctor can help ease the condition. Similarly, showing the expectant mother quality videos dealing with pregnancy and labour under the guidance of the gynaecologist would also prove useful.
Also, discuss with the doctor the possibility of carrying out a painless delivery. However, such procedures could be very expensive.
For some women, none of these measures would be sufficient. In that case consult a psychiatrist, who can suggest treatment methods like relaxation techniques, psychotherapy to calm an agitated mind or even prescribe some drugs.
To solve tocophobia, a coordinated effort is needed involving the husband, family members, gynaecologist and psychiatrist, apart from the expectant mother.