Tokophobia is a pathological dread and avoidance of childbirth. It is a distressing condition which can often be overlooked by medical professionals. As well as specific phobias and anxiety, tokophobia may be associated with depression and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Fear of childbirth is common and more intense in pregnant women who have not had a previous experience of childbirth. Over 20% of pregnant women report fear and 6% describe a fear that is disabling.
Altogether 13% of women who are not pregnant report fear of childbirth sufficient to postpone or avoid pregnancy.