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Cross-cultural comparison of levels of childbirth-related fear in an Australian and Swedish sample
University of Melbourne, School of Rural Health, Shepparton, Australia.
University of Melbourne, School of Rural Health, Shepparton, Australia.
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Health Sciences.
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6985-6729
2011 (English)In: Midwifery, ISSN 0266-6138, E-ISSN 1532-3099, Vol. 27, no 4, p. 560-567Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: research, conducted predominately in Scandinavian countries, suggests that a substantial number of women experience high levels of fear concerning childbirth which can impact on birth outcomes, the mother-infant relationship and the ongoing mental health of the mother. The prevalence of childbirth-related fear (CBRF) is not well known outside of the Nordic nations. This study aimed to examine the prevalence of CBRF in two rural populations (Sweden and Australia) and to pilot a short, easy-to-administer measurement tool. Methods: a questionnaire assessing a range of childbirth-related issues was administered to women in the first trimester across two rural populations in Sweden (n=386) and Australia (n=123). CBRF was measured using the Fear of Birth Scale (FOBS) a two-item visual analogue scale. Findings: close to 30% of women from the Australian and Swedish samples reported elevated levels of CBRF in the first trimester. A previous negative birth experience and less than positive attitudes to their current pregnancy and birth were predictive of high levels of fear. Swedish women with high levels of fear indicated a preference for caesarean section as the mode of birth in this pregnancy. A higher proportion (19%) of Australian women indicated that they would prefer an elective caesarean section, compared with only 8.8% of the Swedish sample; however, this was not related to high levels of fear. Preference for caesarean section was related to CBRF in the Swedish sample but not in the Australian sample. Conclusion: the high proportion of women identified with CBRF suggests a need for monitoring of women during pregnancy, particularly those with a previous negative birth experience. The FOBS developed for this study could be used as a screening tool to identify women who require further investigation. Further cross-cultural research is needed to explore the role of fear in women's preference for caesarean section.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 27, no 4, p. 560-567
Keywords [en]
Fear of childbirth; Measurement scales; VAS
National Category
Nursing
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-10394DOI: 10.1016/j.midw.2010.05.004ISI: 000292912300026Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-79960357949OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-10394DiVA, id: diva2:278480
Projects
Caesarean section-emergency exit or shortcut?Available from: 2009-11-26 Created: 2009-11-26 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved

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Karlström, AnnikaHildingsson, Ingegerd

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