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Di Renzo GC. Tocophobia: a new indication for Cesarean delivery?. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2003; 13:(4)

Koch T. Disabling disability amid competing ideologies. J Med Ethics. 2017; https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1136/medethics-2017-104253

O'Connell M, Leahy-Warren P, Khashan AS, Kenny LC. Tocophobia—the new hysteria?. Obstet Gynaecol Reprod Med. 25:(6)175-7

O'Connell MA. Collaboration on fear of childbirth. British Journal of Midwifery. 2017; 25:(12)808-9

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Tocophobia

02 February 2018
2 min read
Volume 26 · Issue 2

Abstract

Women with a severe fear of childbirth may request a caesarean section, but what does this mean for efforts to reduce medical interventions in birth? George Winter explains

Describing her reaction to a film on childbirth that was shown at her school, Dame Helen Mirren once commented: ‘I swear it traumatised me to this day. I haven't had children and now I can't look at anything to do with childbirth. It absolutely disgusts me’ (Shears, 2007).

One might infer that Dame Helen is a tocophobe: someone with a severe fear of childbirth. However, although tocophobia is defined as ‘an unreasoning dread of childbirth […] much of the published literature to date refers to tocophobia as a severe “Fear of Childbirth” rather than “an unreasoning dread of childbirth”’ (O'Connell et al, 2017: 908).

In the first systematic review and meta-analysis of the prevalence of tocophobia, O'Connell et al (2017) found the pooled prevalence to be 14%, with Scandinavia at 12%, the rest of Europe at 8% and Australia at 23%. They also noted that prevalence had increased since 2000.

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