Tokophobia was introduced as a psychiatric disorder for the first time in 2000. The purpose of this study is to answer four questions: What is tokophobia and how does it occur? What is the global prevalence of tokophobia? What are the symptoms of tokophobia? and what are the strategies for the control and treatment of tokophobia?
This systematic review was conducted by searching articles in English and Persian published between January 2000 and January 2018 on international databases; PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, Google Scholar, Science Direct, and domestic databases; Magiran and SID, along with a manual search in resources.
After reviewing 151 articles, finally 16 were included in the study. The results indicate that tokophobia is a severe and pathological fear of childbirth. In the categorization of psychiatric disorders, it is classified as a specific phobia based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV). The etiology of tokophobia is multifactorial, and its prevalence in pregnant women was reported around 14 percent among 18 countries. The signs and symptoms of the disorder are insomnia, crying, restlessness, depression, anxiety and severe worry about childbirth. Psychological strategies, cognitive behavior therapy and medication have been proposed to reduce the fear of childbirth in women in different studies.
As a guide, these results can assist the healthcare team members to recognize and screen at-risk women as well as to perform nursing interventions and psychotherapy in the prenatal and delivery stages.
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