Feeling freaked out about pregnancy is pretty normal, exciting, but terrifying at the same time! From the first moment a woman finds out she's expecting to the final moments during delivery, mom’s everywhere have their minds buzzing during pregnancy. There’s a lot of information, misinformation and even some alternative facts!
So no wonder moms feel overwhelmed and develop a long list of fears and phobias, some more common than others, but fears all the same!
I can relate to all the moms out there who had a few, if not all of the phobias that this article discusses. Pregnancy is filled with so much uncertainty, we can’t know the outcome or even the journey that we’ll be presented with, and that lack of control women have over their own body during this time can be very daunting!
One moment it’s just one person and the next…she has to start thinking about a tiny human living inside of her. From then on everything she eats, drinks and does is scrutinized, not only by onlookers, but also by herself. Women are their own worst critics.
It’s no wonder why women develop strange phobias when everywhere they look, there's someone asking, “Should an expectant woman be doing that?” "Don’t lift that, don’t eat that, don’t stress out too much…" The list goes on and on and I’m dizzy just thinking about it!
Expectant women are afraid because they are conditioned to be afraid and cautious, but also because they’re momma bears and they want to protect their young the best they can. For women who’ve had a fear during their pregnancy that they thought was super weird, they're most likely not alone…pregnancy can make anyone's mind spin!
15 Tokophobia Can Be Experienced By Even Mom Herself
It may sound like a strange disease, but in reality this is just a fancy name for a phobia of pregnancy and childbirth. The word is a blend of the Greek, tokos meaning childbirth and phobos, meaning fear. Tokophobia seems like a very valid fear, especially if you are expecting your first child!
I used to have nightmares that the baby would burst through my stomach, and I'd wake up sweating! Perhaps this is extreme for some, but it does happen, and you can't tell me that childbirth isn't terrifying, it’s probably in the top five fears out there, even for men, I’m sure not a one of them would adore the idea, not a one!
There's this sense of not knowing an outcome, and that's absolutely unbearable to some women. The idea that something is totally and completely out of their control? Yes, definitely scary and overwhelming, even debilitatingly so!
Tokophobia can be so severe that some women choose to never have children, or if they do decide to try, they sometimes end up terminating the pregnancy due to severe panic attacks with the development of PTSD. This phobia is often overlooked, but it’s real and women out there suffering silently need support.
14 Emetophobia Brings Everything Up
Hopefully you’re not eating while reading this one; you’ve been warned…Emetophobia is a fear of vomiting. For all the women suffering with this phobia, we all know morning sickness is awful, but being afraid of throwing up only makes it seem worse.
Morning sickness is one of the first signs of pregnancy and no one looks forward to it, especially if they happen to be one of the lucky women who has a severe case of it. I’m sure many women thinking about becoming a mom struggle with this fear, so it’s no surprise that this translates into their pregnancy.
There are a lot of people who are terrified of vomiting before pregnancy, and even more that vomit if they see, hear, or smell someone vomiting. It’s strange to be nauseated by feeling nauseous, but if you’re one of the pregnant mommas with this phobia, you fall into that category.
13 Dystychiphobia Won't Be Driven Around
This fear is not exactly of the car itself, but of what could happen in a car. Many people in the world hold this fear, so expectant women aren’t immune to feeling terrified in a car or flat out refuse to get in one.
Dystychiphobia is the fancy name for the fear of getting into an accident. Many women have nightmares about getting into accidents during pregnancy; some even stop driving in their third trimester, or sooner, because of their discomfort behind the wheel and their uneasiness with the idea of driving. Feeling huge behind the wheel certainly doesn’t help matters!
The fear doesn’t disappear once the baby pops out either, it is then amplified by the stress of taking baby home for the first time. Mom might check the car seat straps half a billion times and ask dad to drive at a snail’s pace, but it’s all a part of wanting to keep baby safe.
12 Escalaphobia, Oh My!
Coming from the Greek word escalo meaning “to move up,” Escalaphobia is affects many people around the world. If you are one of the many women who suffer from dizziness during pregnancy, then great heights, stairs, elevators and even escalators can make you uneasy and queasy!
Not being able to see your feet in the later stages of pregnancy is already daunting, if you can’t see down, sometimes you might feel a bit afraid of your footing, will you catch the step on the escalator or will you miss a step? The thought is actually quite terrifying, and I was surprised to find many expectant women admit to having this seemingly illogical fear during their pregnancy.
The truth is, the more and more I think about it, the more I understand why a mom-to-be would fear them! We feel so unbalanced with a growing belly, and I’m sure every time they step onto an escalator they have images of tumbling forward running through their minds.
11 Fear Of Miscarriage
I’m sure all expecting women have moments of fearing that they're not doing their very best to promote a healthy pregnancy and baby. We also worry that if we worry too much, the stress could cause complications. Sometimes there's just far too much pressure we put on ourselves!
This is perhaps the most common fear I came across in forums, with many moms asking for validation, asking, “Is anyone else having this irrational fear that they just can’t shake?” Many moms came forward with a definite, “Yes!”
This is a legitimate fear, miscarriage is a reality, it happens and it’s awful for anyone to experience. Women who have suffered one before will certainly have a deeper routed fear ruling their pregnancy, and yes it can cause sleeplessness and depression. If this phobia is making you question your every step, then it might be time to look to a doctor for reassurance, you are not alone.
10 Spontaneous Combustion
This particular fear is lol-worthy, but I did come across a few moms who shared this rather strange phobia during their pregnancy. Perhaps it’s the fact that our bellies continue to grow and grow, so much so that we feel like Violet Beauregarde turning into a big old giant blueberry in Willy Wonka’s Factory, minus the blue part, of course.
The official phobia is called Autocombustophobia, a fear of spontaneous human combustion. Of course this won’t happen to anyone during pregnancy or ever, there are some theories about the possibility of it, but it sounds like more of a farce than reality.
Truth is, you’re not going to blow up, you might feel a bit like you’re inflating throughout your pregnancy, and you wouldn’t be alone in feeling like that, being pregnant sure makes you feel balloon-ish sometimes. Trust me when I say, you will not explode, you will pop, but that is something you will be very glad for!
9 Fear Of Being A Bad Mom
No, we’re not talking about the movie, Bad Moms, who hilariously become extra lax on parenting and life in general. Being a parent for the first time would make anyone feel overwhelmed. Without parenting experience, we might feel lost, which is why we look to books, advice from family and friends, and also, the internet.
We all want to be great parents to our little ones, but there is always this fear at the back of our minds, nagging us, what if we’re not good enough? I came across so many women online who confessed to feeling this way and fearing that they’ll fail.
This can instil a lot of panic in expecting women, constantly battling with the idea of how to be the best mom, once again we see women putting unnecessary pressure on themselves to be the perfect mom. Perfection isn’t realistic, but anyone done with love and good intentions behind it, can’t be bad.
8 Pocrescophobia Has Some Women Dreading The Next 9 Months
Pocrescophobia is the fear of gaining weight and it’s a terrible phobia to be suffering from when you have to assent to the fact that, during pregnancy, you will definitely gain weight. Nearly all women who speak out about phobias during their pregnancy will mention this fear, especially since our bodies change so much during and after pregnancy.
Many women may even suffer from a form of body dysmorphia or BDD during or after pregnancy, where they have a distorted view of how they look and spend much time worrying about the imperfections of their body.
Panicking about weight gain might seem silly when it’s unavoidable during pregnancy, but it’s especially nauseating watching the scale climb, no one looks forward to standing on that scale at every single OB appointment, it’s depressing for all women, but hopefully it won’t send you into meltdown mode. Weight gain is just one of those things we accept and hope to come back from.
7 Athazagoraphobia And Mommy Brain
Oh baby brain, you horrible terrible thief! Athazagoraphobia is the fear of forgetting, and it’s terrifying if you’re mid doing something and suddenly all thoughts are gone! Yikes! We have all suffered with baby brain, but the fear of forgetting things is legitimate and stressful! The worst of it is, baby brain doesn’t end after pregnancy and some mothers even admit to it never going away! Insert horrified scream here!
The fear of forgetfulness seems silly, but it has soon to be moms in a frenzy! Women feel less efficient and that starts to affect their confidence, especially when there’s much to be done leading up to the arrival of a baby.
I still find myself forgetting things, so I understand the fear, it’s not fun feeling lost in your thoughts, searching for something that was supposedly important, but it just never comes back to you, forcing you to accept that whatever it was...is gone forever, and ever!
6 Fear Of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding for the first time is scary for a number of reasons, so finding out that moms found this a common fear during pregnancy really didn’t surprise me at all. With the big push to breastfeed from nurses and doctors, there is a lot of pressure to be successful at it. As women got closer to their due date, this fear became engorged (pun intended).
The fears surrounding breastfeeding are: fear that your baby won’t latch, fear that you won’t have enough milk or none, fear that baby won’t eat at all, fear of failure, and most commonly the fear that breastfeeding will be too painful to endure.
This fear keeps many moms from even attempting breastfeeding, and the added pressure at the hospital does not help ease or eradicate the fear, it only amplifies it! Feel no shame if you have to go to bottles ladies, breastfeeding isn’t easy for all.
5 Fear Of An Impending Apocalypse
This is an absolutely hilarious phobia that I stumbled across in my search for the many strange phobias acquired during pregnancy. This one perhaps tops the cake! Perhaps this fear is linked heavily to nesting, where you prepare everything for baby’s arrival in that last burst of energy before labor, but what if it went beyond setting up the nursery?
Some of these moms went the hoarding items from Costco route and stocked the entire house with essentials, you know, in case of the end of days. Crazy or practical? I can’t decide!
Sure, our fears swirl around like wild fire when it comes to bringing a baby into the world, and although the world is an imperfect place, I don’t think there’s going to be an apocalypse anytime soon, but hey, at least you have all the water and food you’ll need for years, because let’s face it, new moms don’t leave the house nearly enough!
4 Fear Of Falling
Sending out an FOF, see what I did there? A fear of falling or FOF is also known as basophobia. Many expecting women begin to feel unsteady as their belly grows, and some even begin to develop this phobia of falling.
There wasn’t a moment that went by in my pregnancies that I didn’t feel clumsy or awkward, and that led to a fear of falling and injuring myself or the baby. I spent a lot of time sitting once I was in my third trimester and I found it interesting that many women felt this exact same way.
Carrying a child over the winter months can also lend to this fear. Winters can be brutal and I know any expectant woman walking in a parking lot thinks it at least once, "What if I fall on my belly?" It's a terrifying thing to think about, so thank god for mommy parking spaces, the walk is shorter!
3 Fear Of One's Own Home
I came across one particular mom stating that she was suffering from a fear of her home, something she developed during pregnancy and just couldn’t shake. It could be associated to hormones, but perhaps it might also have something to do with nesting too.
The mother experiencing the phobia had just moved into a new home and a few days later began feeling this extreme hatred towards the house and everything in it, the floors, the smells, the doors, just everything! This might have come from feeling overwhelmed with a new place and a new baby on the way.
It can be a lot to accept, but it might also stem from feeling uncertain about her living arrangements, or just wanting to have the perfect home for baby to grow up in. There is a lot that goes through a woman’s mind during pregnancy, and most of it has to do with worry and planning. I can see how this momma might have felt overwhelmed, but I'm sure the house wasn't all that scary.
2 Fear Of Water Breaking
This one is enough to keep women hiding at home, I know I stopped venturing outside in the last few weeks leading up to my due date and became a bit of a hermit. Besides it being gross, it frightened me to think about being out on the road or at the grocery store and having my water break in one of the aisles. Absolutely terrifying!
Many women have admitted to having this exact fear throughout their pregnancy, constantly asking the OB if they were leaking or worrying their water would break while out in public.
The biggest worry women admitted to was having their water break and labor coming on too quickly, meaning that they wouldn’t make it to the hospital in time to deliver and would have to deliver in a vehicle or wherever they happened to be at the time; this is also a scary scenario that no pregnant woman wants to think about!
1 Nosocomephobia Could Result In A Home Birth
This is the fear of hospitals can be a fear of the building itself, medicine or even surgery, and although it seems crazy for a woman to fear a hospital when they know they might be visiting one to deliver a baby. It’s sort of inevitable, unless of course you’re so scared of them you opt for a home birth, which is completely possible, and many do go that route because they actually prefer it.
This might even be a phobia you already have; after all it’s very rarely that you end up going to a hospital for a fun excursion. Many associate hospitals with pain, and that’s enough to haunt people. Expectant women who’ve had more than one child know that hospitals involve being poked and prodded, and that it all comes along with pregnancy, but it doesn’t mean we have to like it.
The fear of hospitals can be so severe it can cause anxiety or depression, leading to many women counting down the hours before they can leave.
References: Parents, The Independent, What To Expect