Loccaphobia: characteristics, symptoms, causes and treatment

Loccaphobia: characteristics

Pregnancy and childbirth in women are biological and natural processes. However, it is normal that they sometimes cause some respect or fear, especially at the time of delivery. When this fear, however, becomes intense and disproportionate, we speak of a specific phobia: the lochiophobia .

In this article we will learn exactly what this phobia consists of, what other fears it is related to, what two types exist and what repercussions it has. We will finally discuss its symptoms, causes and possible treatments.

Loccaphobia: what is it?

Etymologically, the word “lochiophobia” comes from the Greek term “tokos”, which means “birth”, and from the term “phobos”, which means “fear”.

Loccaphobia, also known as tocophobia, is a specific type of phobia that consists of an intense fear of giving birth to a baby ; this phobia translates into a fear or anxiety associated with giving birth to a baby naturally, and is related to the fear of pain (especially in new mothers) and the fear of complications (especially in mothers who have had previous traumatic experiences during childbirth).

It is also related to the fear that the baby will suffer or be born with some malformation, although in lochiophobia the fear itself is especially directed at the “moment of birth”. On the other hand, lochiophobia can be accentuated in moments close to birth.

To prevent or treat lochiophobia , it is often necessary to schedule the birth in advance by means of a Cesarean section .

Remember that specific phobias are anxiety disorders (classified as such in the DSM-5 [Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders]), and therefore the symptoms are very much related to anxious symptoms, including nerves, irritability, over-excitement, dizziness, etc.

Symptoms

Let’s see what the symptoms of lochiophobia are:

1. Intense fear of giving birth

The main symptom of lochiophobia, as in all specific phobias, consists of the existence of an irrational, intense, persistent and disproportionate fear (or anxiety) of giving birth , which some women, pregnant or not, suffer from (especially those who are not, who avoid becoming pregnant).

Fear of pregnancy

Sometimes lochiophobia can also include the fear itself of having a baby, although it is mostly related to the timing of birth. Fear often translates into nervousness, irritability, anguish, discomfort, fear , etc.

This fear can cover both the gestation period and the period or time of delivery; the mother is afraid that it will be time to give birth, and especially afraid of suffering or feeling pain that she cannot bear.

3. Avoidance behaviour

On the other hand, the person with lochiophobia also presents avoidance behaviors, in this case of situations that remind him/her of the time of delivery (if he/she is already pregnant) or situations, people or objects related to the possibility of getting pregnant (such as seeing other pregnant women).

4. Altered operation

The global symptomatology of lochiophobia (especially intense fear) must last a minimum of 6 months to be diagnosed as such, and the daily functioning of the affected person must be significantly altered (due to the symptoms).

5. Other symptoms

Other symptoms associated with lochiophobia are the occurrence of nightmares, depressive symptoms, heightened anxiety, difficulty concentrating or thinking, nausea and even panic attacks. It is very important to prevent and treat these symptoms to avoid the baby (in case it is already pregnant) suffering as well.

Types

There are two types of lochiophobia: primary and secondary.

1. Primary

Primary lochiophobia is that suffered by first-time women , who have never given birth before.

Typically these women, if not pregnant, want to have children, but the timing of the birth scares them so much that they delay the moment or simply don’t try to get pregnant. In the case of being pregnant, they feel this fear throughout the pregnancy and especially in the last stages of it.

2. Secondary

The second type of loquiophobia is high school. These are women who are no longer first-time mothers, that is, who have already had children, and who had a traumatic experience during childbirth (due to complications, problems, etc.). This bad experience caused them a kind of trauma, in addition to possible painful symptoms, and that is why they are afraid of going through it again.

Thus, generally these women fear becoming pregnant again and therefore avoid it , although lochiophobia can also arise in women who become pregnant again and have already had children (this second case being more rare).

Effects on quality of life

Generally, women who suffer from lochiophobia end up making the vital choice not to have children (at least by conceiving a child naturally).

This decision based on a limitation may affect your emotional and sentimental ground (in relationships), if your partners want to have children and they do not. It can also happen that these women resort to other alternatives, such as adoption, in order to avoid the process of pregnancy and/or birth.

Causes

The causes of lochiophobia can be diverse. As we have already mentioned, one of the most common is a previous traumatic experience at the time of birth (in non-new mothers). This experience may have included complications for the baby or for the mother herself, malformations in the baby, unbearable pain at the time of delivery, etc.

Fear of pregnancy

Sometimes lochiophobia can also include the fear itself of having a baby, although it is mostly related to the timing of birth.
Fear often translates into nervousness, irritability, anguish, discomfort, fear , etc.

This fear can cover both the gestation period and the period or time of delivery; the mother is afraid that it will be time to give birth, and especially afraid of suffering or feeling pain that she cannot bear.

3. Avoidance behaviour

On the other hand, the person with lochiophobia also presents avoidance behaviors, in this case of situations that remind him/her of the time of delivery (if he/she is already pregnant) or situations, people or objects related to the possibility of getting pregnant (such as seeing other pregnant women).

4.
Altered operation

The global symptomatology of lochiophobia (especially intense fear) must last a minimum of 6 months to be diagnosed as such, and the daily functioning of the affected person must be significantly altered (due to the symptoms).

As far as possible pharmacological treatments are concerned, anxiolytics and/or antidepressants (which help to alleviate existing anxiety and possible comorbid depressive symptoms) may be used as long as this does not affect the baby’s health, and only under a professional’s prescription.

Bibliographic references:

  • 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. Volume I and II. Madrid: McGraw-Hill.
  • Medina, V. (2018) Have you ever heard of tocophobia or fear of giving birth? Deep fear of the pregnant woman at the moment of delivery. Guíainfantil.com.

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