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BJOG. 2001 May;108(5):492-8.

Psychosocial characteristics of women and their partners fearing vaginal childbirth.

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1
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To examine the personal characteristics and socio-economic background of women and their partners fearing vaginal childbirth.

DESIGN:

Questionnaire survey by the 30th week of pregnancy.

SETTING:

Sixteen outpatient maternity centres in the capital area of Finland.

PARTICIPANTS:

Two hundred and seventy-eight women and their partners.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Personality traits, socio-economic factors, life and partnership satisfaction and pregnancy- and delivery-associated anxiety and fear.

RESULTS:

The more anxiety, neuroticism, vulnerability, depression, low self-esteem, dissatisfaction with the partnership, and lack of social support the women reported, the more they showed pregnancy-related anxiety and fear of vaginal delivery. In multiple regression analyses psychological variables of the woman contributed most to the prediction of pregnancy-related anxiety (increase in R2 = 0.20, P < 0.001), the strongest predictor being general anxiety (beta = 0.28, P < 0.001). Lack of support contributed most to the prediction of severe fear of vaginal delivery (increase in chi2 = 13.66, P < 0.01), the strongest predictor being dissatisfaction with the partnership (Wald 8.61, P < 0.01). Life-dissatisfaction reported by the partner contributed to pregnancy-related anxiety and his dissatisfaction with the partnership contributed to the woman's fear of vaginal delivery.

CONCLUSIONS:

The personalities of a pregnant woman and her partner, and their relationship, influences the woman's attitude to her pregnancy and her forthcoming delivery.

PMID:
11368135
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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