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Title: An exploration of childbirth related fears and anxieties amongst women and men in Northern Ireland
Author: Greer, Carole Jean
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2015
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International research suggests that fear of childbirth is associated with adverse clinical outcomes for mothers and babies. Much less data is available from within the United Kingdom and it is proposed that this has occurred because of the lack of an English language questionnaire to measure fear of childbirth amongst this population. This study was designed to bridge this gap in the evidence. In the qualitative phase 19 women and 19 men were interviewed and the data was analysed using the sense of coherence (Antonovsky, 1979) theoretical framework. The findings informed the development of a new questionnaire, the Fear of Childbirth Universal Scale (FOCUS), to measure fear of childbirth amongst both pregnant women and their partners. Mean scores on the new questionnaire were used to determine the impact of fear of childbirth on clinical outcomes for mothers and their babies. Women feared for their own and their baby's safety during the birth process and lacked confidence in their ability to give birth safely. Men feared a very painful or traumatic birth would have a negative impact on their partner's mental health. Both women and men identified medical interventions in birth as a means to keep the mother and baby safe. The questionnaire was found to be reliable to measure fear of childbirth amongst both pregnant women and their partners. Women and their partners who used midwifery-led types of care had lower levels of fear of childbirth than those who used medically-led care. Fear of childbirth amongst both women and men was associated with increased use of medical interventions and adverse clinical outcomes such as increased incidence of induction of labour, epidural use during labour, emergency caesarean section and longer stays in hospital. Babies of fearful parents were less likely to be breastfed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available