Pregnancy outcomes in women with severe fear of childbirth

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O'Connell, Maeve A.
Leahy-Warren, Patricia
Kenny, Louise C.
Khashan, Ali S.
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Elsevier Inc.
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Objective: To compare pregnancy outcomes for women with and without severe fear of childbirth (FOC) reported in the second trimester of pregnancy. Methods: In a prospective cohort study, 389 singleton pregnancies were followed up using medical records of participants in a study investigating FOC in Cork, Republic of Ireland. FOC was measured using the Wijma Delivery Experience Questionnaire Part A (W-DEQ A). Severe FOC was defined as W-DEQ A ≥ 85, moderate FOC, W-DEQ-A 66-84 and low FOC, W-DEQ A 0-65. Outcome measures were birthweight, birthweight centile, gestational age, and Apgar scores at 1 min and Apgar at 5 min. Linear regression was used to assess the association between FOC and each outcome measure with adjustment for maternal age, smoking, parity and marital status. Results: There was no statistically significant difference in mean birthweight (mean difference = −0.03; [95% CI: -444.69, 315.82]), mean birthweight centile (mean difference = 0.03; [95%CI: -15.97, 23.53]), or mean gestational age (mean difference = −0.06; [95%CI: -11.69, 4.82]) in women with severe FOC (n = 18) compared with women with low FOC (n = 371). In the adjusted models, there was only a slight correlation between severe FOC and Apgar scores at 1 min (mean difference = −0.09 [95%CI: -1.28, 0.32]) and Apgar scores at 5 min (mean difference = −0.18 [95%CI: -1.16, 1.08]). Conclusion: While a slight association was noted between severe FOC and Apgar scores, overall findings are reassuring and could inform educational interventions which may alleviate FOC. Awareness of FOC for health care professionals is vital to consider women's mental well-being.
Pregnancy , Fear of childbirth , Tocophobia , Outcomes , Epidemiology
O'Connell, M. A., Leahy-Warren, P., Kenny, L. C. and Khashan, A. S. (2019) 'Pregnancy outcomes in women with severe fear of childbirth', Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 120, pp. 105-109. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2019.03.013