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Content of childbirth-related fear in Swedish women and men: analysis of an open-ended question
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
2006 (English)In: Journal of midwifery & women's health, ISSN 1526-9523, E-ISSN 1542-2011, Vol. 51, no 2, 112-118 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The content of childbirth-related fear as described by 308 women and 194 men was analyzed and compared in relation to intensity of fear. The content of fear was similarly described by women and men and concerned the following main categories: the labor and delivery process, the health and life of the baby, the health and life of the woman, own capabilities and reactions, the partner's capabilities and reactions, and the professionals' competence and behavior. Among women, the labor and delivery process was the most frequently reported among the 6 categories of fears, whereas the health and life of the baby was the most frequent among the men. Fears related to own capabilities and reactions were described significantly more often by women with intense fear than by women with mild to moderate fear. The greatest difference between men with intense versus mild to moderate fear was a more frequent expression of concern for the health and life of the woman. Both women and men had fears related to not being treated with respect and not receiving sufficient medical care. This finding suggests that part of the problem with childbirth-related fear is located within the health care system itself.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 51, no 2, 112-118 p.
Keyword [en]
childbirth-related fear; fear of childbirth; contents; women and men; gender perspective
National Category
Family Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-26282DOI: 10.1016/j.jmwh.2005.08.010PubMedID: 16504908OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-26282DiVA: diva2:241610
Available from: 2009-10-05 Created: 2009-10-05 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Förlossningsrelaterad rädsla: en studie av kvinnors och mäns erfarenheter
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Förlossningsrelaterad rädsla: en studie av kvinnors och mäns erfarenheter
2006 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this thesis was to examine what experiencing childbirth-related fear may imply for women and for men.

The thesis compromises four studies with the following specific aims: I) to investigate the extent and level of childbirth-related fear in women and men, and to identify and compare experiential factors associated with childbirth-related fear in relation to level of fear. II) To describe the contents of childbirth-related fear in women and men, and to investigate whether the contents differed in relation to level of fear. III) To illuminate experiences of intense childbirth-related fear from the perspective of the women, and IV) of the men themselves.

The studies were carried out using a combination of postal questionnaires and open interviews. The questionnaire was answered by 410 (74%) women and 329 (60%) men who prior to the study had had a baby at Norrlands university hospital, Sweden. Twenty women and 20 men who in the questionnaire had assessed their fear related to childbirth as intense were interviewed about what this experience had meant to them. The questionnaires were analyzed by factor analyses and quantitative content analysis. When analyzing the open interviews an approach based on the similarity-difference method in Grounded Theory were used.

The results showed that the large majority of women (80%) and men (72%) had some experiences of fear related to childbirth. For 94 (23%) women and 43 (13%) men the fear was defined as intense. Among the factors identified as being involved in the experience of childbirth-related fear, 'exposedness and inferiority' had the greatest explanatory power in women, while 'communicative difficulties' had the greatest power in men. The contents of fear were fairly similar in both women and men, but the relative importance fo the fear categories differed. Among women fears related to 'the labour and delivery process' were ranked highest, while the uppermost category among the men were fears related to 'the health and life of the baby'. The comparison of the contents in relation to level of fear revealed that fears related to 'own capabilities and reactions' were significantly more common in women with experiences of intense fear than in women with mild to moderate fear. Among the men fears related to 'the health and life of the baby' and 'the health and life of the woman' were significantly more common in men with intense fear than in men with mild to moderate fear. In addition the open interviews indicated that socially constructed norms and beliefs about being happy and expectant influenced the women's perceptions of themselves and of what is considered as appropriate to feel and talk about during pregnancy. Many women judged themselves as different and inferior to others because of their fear, and described difficulties in expressing their fears due to expectations or experiences of not being taken seriously, being neglected or given misguided consolation. For the interviewed men, wishes to contribute and not causing trouble for the woman, as well as strives to adhere to prevailing norms about "masculinity" impled difficulties to disclose and talk about the fear, and look for support.

Publisher
56 p.
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1059
Keyword
childbirth-related fear, fear of childbirth, women, men, experiences, implications, contents, symbolic interactionism, gender perspective
Research subject
Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-889 (URN)91-7264-174-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2006-10-27, Sal B, Rosa salen, Tandläkarhögskolan 9 tr, Umeå, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Available from: 2006-10-12 Created: 2006-10-12 Last updated: 2009-10-05Bibliographically approved

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