Prevalence and risk factors for serious birth concerns in unselected population of mothers

Authors: Z. Chválna;  N. Dominová;  M. Ostatníková;  P. Pšenková ;  K. Kollárová;  V. Serátor;  B. Balažovjechová;  J. Záhumenský
Authors‘ workplace: II. gynekologicko-pôrodnícka klinika LF UK a UN Bratislava, Slovenská republika
Published in: Ceska Gynekol 2023; 88(2): 80-85
Category: Original Article


Aim: The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of severe fear of childbirth in a group of pregnant women, to determine the risk factors, and to prove the impact of the fear of childbirth on various obstetrics outcomes in this group. Materials and methods: The study population consists of pregnant women who gave birth at the 2nd Gynecology and Obstetrics Department of the Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University and University Hospital Bratislava, from January 1st, 2022, until April 31st, 2022. After signing an informed consent, the pregnant women were given a Slovak version of the Wijma Delivery Expectancy Questionnaire (S-WDEQ), which is a psychometric tool to evaluate the prevalence of severe fear of childbirth. They were given the S-WDEQ during the 36th and 38th week of gestational age. The childbirth data were collected from the hospital information system after the delivery of the baby. Results and conclusion: The studied group consists of 453 pregnant women who fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Extreme fear of childbirth was identified using S-WDEQ in 10.6% (48) of them. Level of education and age were not considered to be significant predictors of fear of childbirth. Statistically significant difference was not found in terms of the age groups and groups with different levels of education. At the edge of the statistical significance were primiparas, who made up 60.4% (RR: 1.29; 95% CI: 1.00–1.68; P = 0.0525) of all women with severe fear of childbirth. Women with a history of cesarean section were significantly more frequent in the group of women with serious concerns about childbirth (RR: 3.83; 95% CI: 1.56–9.40; P = 0.0033). Women who gave birth by cesarean section due to the indication of non-progressive labour were also more often represented in the group of women with serious concerns about childbirth (RR: 3.01; 95% CI: 1.07–8.42; P = 0.0358). A higher S-WDEQ score at the 36th week of gestational age in a group of primiparous women increased the statistical probability of cesarean delivery (P = 0.0030). The statistical results are not showing the impact of fear of childbirth on the induction success and the duration of the first stage of labour in primiparous women. The fear of childbirth prevalence is relatively high and it has impact on the outcome of childbirth. The use of a validated questionnaire as a screening tool to search for women with childbirth fear could positively influence their concerns by following psychoeducational interventions in clinical care settings.


fear of childbirth – anxiety – Fear – Psychometrics – cesarean section – tocophobia – W-DEQ


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Paediatric gynaecology Gynaecology and obstetrics Reproduction medicine

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