Overcoming Fear Of Pregnancy In Older Women

This week on My Mountain we’ve got Kristi Cathey from Intelligent Mother discussing a phobia that is more common than we realise…

The people of ancient times have never been wrong when they said that everyone has something that they always fear. For children, it’s monsters while for women, the list may be long. One of the fears that most women can have is the fear of getting pregnant and giving birth.


Latest findings show that for every six women, one is usually suffering from tokophobia. Tokophobia is the pathological fear of getting pregnant. It usually occurs in women who are planning to get pregnant for the first time or in older women between the ages of 35 to 40 years old.

I remember when I wanted to have my third child, there were these butterflies in my stomach every time I imagined myself on the maternity bed pushing and screaming my lungs out even though I had done it previously, and not just once, but twice.

What can make older women to develop tokophobia?

Usually, what causes tokophobia in all women, regardless of their age or whether it is their first pregnancy or not, is the pessimistic idea of things that could possibly go wrong during pregnancy and childbirth. Some of the thoughts that usually run in most women’s minds are; “What if I have stillbirth?” “What if I die in the process of giving birth?”

In older women, the fear might be as a result of what transpired in their previous childbirth processes. Some may have gone through a lot of pain when they were giving birth and would not want to go through the same experience. Some older women may fear to get pregnant if in their previous pregnancy, they went through some traumatising postpartum depression or if they have been unfortunate to have had stillbirths in the past.

When I had my second child, I swore never to get pregnant again. This is because my morning sickness was a bit devastating than during my first pregnancy. My feet too were swollen that I was so uncomfortable whenever I put on closed shoes. I know these are normal signs of pregnancy but I hadn’t experienced them on this scale since my first pregnancy was a little bit easier on me, and that is why after having my second child, I felt like my two babies were enough. It’s not because I was done with childbearing, it’s because I feared to get pregnant ever again.


Just like me, women between the ages of 35 to 40 have at one point suffered from secondary tokophobia. No matter what may be the reasons behind your tokophobia, it should be taken seriously since it can take over your life and lead to some other complications. According to latest findings, tokophobia is one of the causes of low birth rates in most countries like Sweden. Good news is that you can overcome the fear of pregnancy.

Causes of tokophobia

Expert psychologists have always been right about causes of fear. According to them, fear of anything is usually caused by inner issues that are long buried. In women, the fear of pregnancy usually stem from the following:

  • The thought of not giving birth to a healthy baby: This may haunt older women who have gone through miscarriage or stillbirths in the past.
  • The fear of labour pain: It is said that the pain that we as women go through while giving birth is equivalent to the pain someone can experience when seven bones are breaking at the same time in the body.
  • The thought of delivering your baby at an unexpected place: During pregnancy, questions of what ifs usually run through a lot of women’s minds. “What if I give birth while in the car or any other unexpected place?”
  • The thought that you will not make a good mother: Since babies don’t come with a manual guide on how to be a good mother, most women may feel that they are not up to the task ahead.

How you can overcome the fear of pregnancy


No woman should let her fears of pregnancy stand in her way to starting a family and growing it. Babies are a blessing, and all women usually have the desire to have their own babies at some point in their lives. Here is how you can overcome your fears of pregnancy.

  • Always keep a positive attitude: Since the most powerful tool to overcome anything is the mind, staying optimistic about your pregnancy will, therefore, silence the voices in your head that will always tell you that you won’t be able to handle it. Even if your previous pregnancy was a bit hectic and stressful, it doesn’t mean that your next pregnancy would be the same. Remember, each pregnancy is different from the other.
  • Attend childbirth preparation classes: Attending such classes will help you prepare psychologically for delivery and give you the confidence you need. You can also join online forums where women in similar situations like yours can come together and share their stories and encourage each other. Realising that there are others out there like you will give you a lot of courage. You can also learn ways in which you can tell that your pregnancy is in the right direction, for example: how to tell if your baby is head down.
  • Face your fears: Every woman knows what makes her fear pregnancy. It is, therefore, important that you take note of what is causing your fear, after which you can share it with your therapist for cognitive behavioural therapy or a trusted family member or friend. Having love and support will give you the strength to overcome your fears and give birth safely and smoothly.

The takeaway

If any woman tells you that they have never felt anxious at the thought of giving birth, then they have lied to you. The childbirth process or the thought of it, makes every woman feel like a cat on hot bricks. The good thing is, many women have gone through it, and therefore, you can also overcome it. Nothing should keep you from getting pregnant and having that family that you started dreaming of when you were a little girl.

Author Bio

My name is Kristi and I’m a mother of 3 beautiful angels and founder of Intelligent.Mother.com. This blog was created in order to share experiences baby care and health care for pregnant women.  You can find many interesting insights.  Problems – Solved!

Do you have a parenting challenge you’d like to share?  If you’re interested in contributing to the My Mountain series please email me at butterflymum83@gmail.com.  

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