All About the Fear of Childbirth and How to Overcome it with Psychological Therapy & Counselling


What is the Fear of Childbirth?

The Fear of Childbirth is also known as Tokophobia and, in common with other fears and phobias, can produce strong feelings of anxiety, worry and stress.

The risks associated with giving birth do exist, but modern midwifery and medicine have minimised them significantly.

Your Fear of Childbirth might be the result of:

  • Negative experiences with a difficult birth in the past.
  • Being told “horror stories” about childbirth from other people.
  • Worrying about not being in control once pregnancy is confirmed.
  • The fear of having bad morning sickness.
  • A fear of being sick – Emetophobia.
  • Worrying about the pain of childbirth.

Although fears and phobias are often described as “irrational” or relate to situations “unlikely to cause harm”, the anxiety experienced with the Fear of Childbirth is very real.

This is because your fears are subjective and rely on the way that YOU make sense of your own experiences, through what is known as your internal working model of the world.

Fortunately, the Fear of Childbirth responds very well to counselling and psychotherapy treatments so you don’t need to live in fear.


Fear of Childbirth Symptoms

The Fear of Childbirth leads to feelings of anxiety because phobic objects or situations are perceived as being threatening in some way.

The symptoms associated with the Fear of Childbirth may be specific or more generic and can include:

  • Anxiety or panic attacks about becoming pregnant.
  • Fear of having a bad pregnancy.
  • Physical symptoms such as sweating, shaking, palpitations, and difficulty breathing.
  • Avoiding becoming pregnant through extreme measures.
  • Needing to have control over the situation, such as knowing everything about the potential risks associated with childbirth.
  • Fear of being trapped or unable to change your mind about having a baby.
  • Feeling detached from oneself or feeling like your are not in control of your body.
  • Negative thoughts or catastrophising, such as imagining the worst-case scenario.

You may have all, some or even different symptoms to these listed here and this is due to the subjective nature of phobias.

Is your phobia making you anxious or are you creating the anxiety?

It might be hard to accept, but it’s almost certain that the anxiety you experience when you encounter your phobic object or situation is being unwittingly created by YOU and NOT the thing you fear.

Find out more about the subjective vs objective nature of phobias here.

Fear of childbirth sufferer in therapy session

Therapy for the Fear of Childbirth

We offer a number of different types of therapy and counselling for your Fear of Childbirth.

Which therapy will work best for you depends on a number of different factors such as:

  • How long you have had your fear.
  • Your personal preferences.
  • How your fear is affecting you today.

You can read more about the different types of therapy for the Fear of Childbirth on the following links:

Although all forms of counselling use slightly different approaches, the one thing they all have in common is the relationship that is formed between the client and therapist.

Furthermore, research also suggests that the therapy relationship may be one of the most important factors in achieving a good therapy outcome.

The behaviour change framework logo

The Behaviour Change Framework

All of our fear of childbirth sessions and programmes use the Behaviour Change Framework (BCF).

This scientifically proven protocol defines the stages of behaviour change that you need to go through in order to achieve long lasting and sustainable change.

The framework provides a roadmap that indicates if more change is required before entering the next phase of the change process.

In this way, we are able to ensure that you get the best possible level of support in overcoming your mental health problems as well preventing early termination of therapy.

You can read more about the Science of Change here.

Free initial consultations for fear of childbirth

FREE initial consultations for the Fear of Childbirth

If you’d like to find out more about overcoming your Fear of Childbirth or recovering from related mental health problems then why not arrange a free initial consultation with us.

During this consultation we will discuss your particular phobia and the different types of mental health counselling we offer without you having to commit to any counselling going forward.

The consultation lasts around 50 minutes and is a great opportunity to meet with either Paul or Joan and decide if you would like to proceed with any support.

Clare Tokophobia Testimonial

Clare Tokophobia Testimonial

Clare Tokophobia Testimonial "Hi Paul, I hope you are well. I just wanted to let you know……..that I am pregnant! …and…I’m completely fine with it 😊 (I’m happy in fact!) which before starting the CBT with you I didn’t think I’d ever be saying. I haven’t developed the...

read more
Julia Tokophobia Testimonial

Julia Tokophobia Testimonial

Julia Tokophobia Testimonial “CBT with Tranceform Psychology has been life changing for me. I have had anxiety and fear surrounding the idea of pregnancy and childbirth as long as I can remember. Tokophobia isn’t well known or talked about often, and I found...

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Applied Psychology Solutions

If you’d like to learn how to overcome your fear of childbirth but dislike the idea of having “therapy”, then why not learn how to change the way you make sense of your experiences with the CORE Programme.

If you believe that your problems are the result of what has happened to you and not because there is something wrong with you, then this is the solution you’ve been looking for.

Not Ready to Commit to Therapy Quite Yet?

Then why not see if you can solve your fear of childbirth problems using our comprehensive, Online Self-Help CBT course.


Written especially for people who prefer not to engage with a therapist before doing everything they can to overcome their problems.

Mirroring our in-house course of CBT, it contains everything that you need to know to tackle mental health challenges for only £149.

Counselling Locations

We offer counselling for the fear of childbirth in:

  • Wombourne
  • Wolverhampton
  • West Midlands
  • Shropshire
  • South Staffordshire
  • Telford
  • Shrewsbury

You can also access our services around the World using online therapy with Paul.