Pregnancy and the timing of childbirth in women are biological and natural processes. However, it is normal that they sometimes arouse respect or fear, especially around the time of childbirth. When this fear however becomes intense and disproportionate, we speak of a specific phobia: locquiophobia.
In this article, we will know exactly what this phobia is, what other fears it relates to, what are the two types and what are the repercussions. We will finally talk about its symptoms, causes and possible treatments.
Locquiophobia: what is it?
Etymologically, the word “locquiophobia” comes from the Greek term “tokos”, which means “birth”, and from the term “phobos”, which means “fear”.
Locquiophobia, also called tocophobia, is a specific type of phobia that it is the intense fear of giving birth or giving birth; this phobia results in a fear or anxiety associated with natural childbirth, and is linked to fear of pain (especially in precocious mothers) and fear of complications (especially in mothers who have already experienced traumatic experiences during childbirth).
It is also linked to the fear that the baby will suffer or be born with a deformity, although in locquiophobia the fear itself is mainly directed at the “time of childbirth”. On the other hand, locquiophobia can be accentuated at times close to childbirth.
To prevent or treat locquiophobia delivery is often scheduled in advance and by cesarean section.
Remember that specific phobias are anxiety disorders (classified as such in the DSM-5 [Manual Diagnóstico de los Trastornos Mentales]), And this is why the symptoms are closely related to the anxiety symptomatology including nerves, irritability, overexcitement, dizziness, etc.
Let’s see what are the symptoms of locquiophobia:
1. For an intense childbirth
The main symptom of locquiophobia, as in any specific phobia, is the existence of an irrational, intense, persistent and disproportionate fear (or anxiety) of giving birth, Which some women suffer from being pregnant or not (especially those who are not, who avoid becoming pregnant).
2. Fear of pregnancy
Sometimes locquiophobia can also include the fear itself of being pregnant with a baby, although it is mostly related to the time of birth. the fear this often results in nervousness, irritability, anxiety, discomfort, fear, etc.
This fear can cover both the gestation period and the period or time of childbirth; the mother is afraid that the time has come to give birth, and especially afraid of suffering or of feeling pain that she cannot bear.
3. Avoidance behaviors
On the other hand, the person with locquiophobia also has avoidance behaviors, in this case situations that remind him of the time of delivery (if he is already pregnant) or situations, people or objects related to the possibility of remaining pregnant (like seeing other pregnant women).
4. Modified operation
Overall symptoms of locquiophobia (especially intense fear) should last at least 6 months to be able to diagnose as such, and the daily functioning of those affected must be significantly altered (due to the symptoms).
5. Other symptoms
Other symptoms associated with locquiophobia are the onset of nightmares, depressive symptoms, increased anxiety, difficulty concentrating or thinking, nausea, and even panic attacks. It is very important to prevent and treat these symptoms to prevent the baby (in case she is already pregnant) from also suffering.
There are two types of locquiophobia: primary and secondary.
Primary locquiophobia is that suffered by the first women, Which they have never given birth to before.
Usually these women, in case they are not pregnant, want to have children, but the time of childbirth scares them so much that they delay the time or just don’t try to get pregnant. In the case of pregnancy, they feel this fear throughout the pregnancy and especially in the later stages of it.
The second type of locquiophobia is secondary. These are women who are no longer precocious, that is to say who have already had children and who have had a traumatic experience during childbirth (due to complications, problems, etc.). bad experience caused them some kind of trauma, as well as possible painful symptoms, which is why they are afraid to do the same again.
like that, Usually, these women are afraid of getting pregnant again and therefore they avoid it., Although locquiophobia can also occur in women who are pregnant again and have already had children (this second case being more rare).
Effects on quality of life
Usually, women who suffer from locquiophobia end up choosing the vital option of not having children (at least conceiving a child naturally).
This limitation-based decision can affect your emotional and sentimental ground (In couple relationships), if their partners want to have children and not. It may also happen that these women resort to other alternatives, such as adoption, in order to avoid the process of pregnancy and / or childbirth.
The causes of locquiophobia can be various. As we have already argued, one of the most common is a previous traumatic experience that occurred around the time of childbirth (In non-precocious mothers). This experience may have included complications for the baby or the mother herself, malformations in the baby, unbearable pain at the time of childbirth, etc. It is the most common cause of secondary locquiophobia.
However, locquiophobia can also occur as a result of observing other mothers suffering during pregnancy or childbirth, after hearing traumatic stories from other women, For example (proxy learning).
It can also be linked to myths and legends associated with the time of childbirth, which end up causing in the person suffering from the phobia, mistaken or distorted beliefs about the time of childbirth.
The treatment for locquiophobia, in women who are already pregnant, involves scheduling a cesarean section well in advance so that the woman feels calm and safe. however, before that, one can also resort to psychological therapy, Through restructuring techniques, which eliminate erroneous beliefs related to the time of childbirth.
These techniques (as well as cognitive therapy itself) will also allow a woman to learn to listen to her fears and understand where they come from and what they are based on.
We will try to ensure that the patient ends up replacing her dysfunctional thoughts with more positive and realistic ones.. In addition, it will be important to accompany the woman so that she can conceive of the moment of childbirth as a natural process which, if complicated, can have health professionals and the appropriate resources to resolve any problems. possible.
Regarding possible pharmacological treatments, it will be possible to resort to anxiolytics and / or antidepressants (which help to alleviate existing anxiety and possible comorbid depressive symptoms) as long as this does not affect the health of the child, and exclusively on medical prescription from a professional.
- American Psychiatric Association (APA) (2014). DSM-5. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Madrid. Panamericana.
- Belloch, A., Sandín, B. and Ramos, F. (2010). Manual of psychopathology. Volumes I and II. Madrid: McGraw-Hill.
- Medina, V. (2018). Have you heard of tocophobia or fear of giving birth? Deep fear of the pregnant woman at the time of childbirth. Guíainfantil.com.