University of Michigan Study Examines Women’s Fears of Childbirth

michiganA new study by researchers at the University of Michigan finds that pregnant women are more worried about the skills of their healthcare providers and the location of where they give birth compared to fears of pain during birth or complications of pregnancy. Researchers conducted a series of focus groups with women who were pregnant or who recently gave birth.

roosevelt-leeThe authors found that women tended to have significant fears about the birth process. Lee Roosevelt, clinical assistant professor at the School of Nursing of the University of Michigan and a co-author of the study, stated that “women who have significant fear of childbirth are more likely to have C-sections, longer labors, and to need induction or augmentation. They’re more likely to have postpartum depression.”

One of the greatest fears expressed by women in the focus groups was that their physician would not be present at the birth of their baby. They were also concerned that they would not be treated respectfully and that their healthcare provider would not listen to their concerns.

kane-low-lisa“Women want to be in a discussion with their provider about their fears,” notes Lisa Kane Lowe, an associate professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Michigan and a co-author of the study. “They don’t want to be patted on the back and told ‘Oh, that’s normal, you’re having a baby.'” Dr. Kane Low holds a bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. in nursing from the University of Michigan. She also holds a master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The study, “Exploring Fear of Childbirth in the United States Through a Qualitative Assessment of the Wijma Delivery Expectancy Questionnaire,” was published on the website of the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing. It may be accessed here.

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