Childbirth is basically the least reasonable thing women have to go through in their lives, but those who fear childbirth could face a longer labor, researchers have found.
Fear and childbirth were the subject of a new study out of Norway, where researchers sought to determine if– as has been suggested by midwives for many decades — being afraid prolonged labors.
The Norwegian researchers collected data between 2008 and 2010 — polling 2206 pregnant women about their childbirth-related fears during the 32nd week of pregnancy. (Because, we imagine, any woman in stirrups for any reason is probably at least a little bit scared, so it’s probably not the best time to take a survey, in any event.)
Of the more than 2200 women surveyed on fear of childbirth, 7.5% were found to have what researchers determined to be a fear of childbirth, scoring higher than 85 points on a scale of 165. But what was interesting was the outcomes of labor for women who were found to be in the “fear of childbirth” category.
Many went on to forgo a c-section, and achieved a successful vaginal delivery. However, instruments including forceps were used in the fear of childbirth group at a rate of 17% versus 10.6% for everyone else. More than 10% required an emergency c-section, versus 6.8% of the other group.
Overall, however, c-section rates were not hugely different — 93.2% in the group of women with no fear of childbirth had a vaginal delivery, versus 89.1% of those in the other group. The study was published in the June 27th issue of BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.