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Fears about giving birth often cause of Caesarean sections

Despite being given psychological counselling, planned and emergency Caesarean sections are more often administered to pregnant women who have a fear of giving birth than to other women.

Gunilla Sydsjö.A Linköping University study shows induced labour and birth aided by instruments are more common with these women.

Professor Gunilla Sydsjö and her research group at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology have reviewed data on births for 353 women diagnosed with severe fears of giving birth. Their outcomes were compared with a control group of 579 women without such fears or other psychosocial problems. All the women in the study gave birth at Linköping University Hospital between 2001 and 2007.

The researchers are publishing their study in the scientific journal Acta Obstetrica et Gynecologica Scandinavica.

During the period studied, severe fear of giving birth occurred in 3 % of all pregnant women who gave birth at the hospital. Most of them were provided counselling in the unit for psychosocial obstetrics and gynaecology. They had, in general, a higher level of education than the women in the control group, and several of them had given birth previously.

Both planned and emergency Caesarean sections are especially common among mothers who have several children and fear giving birth. Many of them had experienced traumatic deliveries. The researchers came to the conclusion that maximum efforts are needed to prevent this and to also determine which treatment would be the best and most cost-effective. They also recommend meeting with those women with fears of giving birth who, despite psychological and medical counselling, still want a planned Caesarean.

Text: Åke Hjelm

Article: G. Sydsjö, A. Sydsjö, C. Gunnervik, M. Bladh, A. Josefsson. Obstetric outcome for women who received individualized treatment for fear of childbirth during pregnancy. Acta Obstetrica et Gynecologica Scandinavica, September 2011.


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Last updated: 2012-12-10