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Tokophobia and fear of birth: a workshop consensus statement on current issues and recommendations for future research.

Jomeen, J., Martin, C. R., Jones, C. , Marshall, C., Ayers, S. ORCID: 0000-0002-6153-2460, Burt, K., Frodsham, L., Horsch, A., Midwinter, D., O'Connell, M., Shakespeare, J., Sheen, K. & Thomson, G. (2020). Tokophobia and fear of birth: a workshop consensus statement on current issues and recommendations for future research.. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 39(1), pp. 2-15. doi: 10.1080/02646838.2020.1843908


Objective: To discuss and develop a statement on the current state of the evidence and opinion in Fear of Childbirth (FoC) and Tokophobia (Tocophobia), and to provide recommendations.

Background: A group met in 2019 to discuss the state of clinical and academic knowledge relating to FoC/Tokophobia. Five key areas were agreed as the focus of the meeting.

Methods: 12 internationally acknowledged experts, in this or a closely related area (e.g. PTSD) met to discuss their understanding of the evidence for FoC/ Tokophobia and current practice. The consensus described in this paper constitutes the expression of the general opinion of the participants and does not necessarily imply unanimity.

Keys points: Work focussed on tokophobia is recent and there remains a wide range of issues, which were addressed in the workshop including complexity in defining prevalence, a theoretical lack of understanding, which creates challenge for robust assessment and the identification of risk factors. An improved aetiological and developmental understanding of the tokophobia is required to underpin appropriate, effective and evidence-based interventions. Evaluation of pathways of care and relevant interventions, should be a focus of future research.

Conclusion: Significant gaps remain within the FoC/tokophobia knowledge base. Further research is necessary.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript version of the following article, accepted for publication in Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology. J. Jomeen, C. R. Martin, C. Jones, C. Marshall, S. Ayers, K. Burt, L. Frodsham, A. Horsch, D. Midwinter, M. O’Connell, J. Shakespeare, K. Sheen & G. Thomson (2020) Tokophobia and fear of birth: a workshop consensus statement on current issues and recommendations for future research, Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, DOI: 10.1080/02646838.2020.1843908 It is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher Keywords: Tokophobia, consensus, fear of childbirth, PTSD, caesarean section, perinatal mental health
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Midwifery & Radiography
SWORD Depositor:
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