- Severe fear of childbirth is uncommon and does not appear to increase risk for pregnancy complications.
Why this matters
- It has been estimated that up to 14% of pregnant women experience severe fear of childbirth worldwide.
- Fear of childbirth is a DSM-5 diagnosis; the Wijma Delivery Experience Questionnaire Part A (W-DEQ A) (cutoff >85) is used to diagnose fear of childbirth with 100% sensitivity.
- Chronic stress has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes and other health issues.
- 4.6% of population diagnosed with severe fear of childbirth.
- No difference in epidural use, induction of labor, or cesarean delivery between groups.
- No difference in birth weight between groups.
- Prospective cohort study.
- Cohort identified from the Finnish Medical Birth Register.
- Pregnancy outcomes of women diagnosed with severe fear of childbirth using a W-DEQ A score ≥85 (n=18) were compared with women with lower scores (W-DEQ A ≥66, n=103; W-DEQ A ≤65, n=268).
- Funding: None.
- Small study population; not adequately powered.
- Results may not be generalizable due to use of a convenience sample.