The range of experiences considered sufficiently traumatic to result in PTSD has widened
considerably, generating what has been termed a "post traumatic culture," and this has influenced accounts of childbirth.
For example, feminist childbirth "guru" Sheila Kitzinger has linked childbirth with other experiences considered to be PTSD "stressors": "After the Vietnam War soldiers on both sides who had not suffered any physical injury often became distressed....
The same thing can happen after a birth.... [A woman] may feel as if she has been raped.... This can happen even with so-called 'normal' birth," she claims.
It has been suggested by psychologists that one in 20 women in Britain develop PTSD as a result of giving birth.
It has been argued by counselor Janet Menage that it would help women if there were a special sub-category of PTSD included in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) and the ICD (International Classification of Diseases) and then used by relevant health professionals, a claim echoed by others including Ralph and Alexander, midwife and tutor for the mothers' group, the National Childbirth Trust.
Post-childbirth counseling or "de-briefing" is usually proposed as the best response to women that develop this new illness.
This is a mental illness first named by psychiatrists in Birmingham, UK, in 1999.
Tokophobia is considered by its proponents to be "an unreasonable fear of childbirth" that makes its sufferers unable to face the prospect of pregnancy and motherhood in the first place.
Some suggest that this illness may be sufficiently widespread that it can help account for the trend towards women delaying having children or having fewer of them than in the past.