Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine
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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 41  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 318-322

Fear of childbirth among pregnant women availing antenatal services in a maternity hospital in rural Karnataka

1 Department of Community Health, St. John's Medical College, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, St. John's Medical College, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Melvin G Kumar
Room No. 115 ‘D’ Block, St. John's Men's Hostel, Sarjapur Road, Koramangala, Bengaluru - 560 034, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJPSYM.IJPSYM_292_18

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Background: Pregnancy, though joyful, may be a time of fear and anxiety. Twenty percent of pregnant women in developed nations report a fear of childbirth, and 6%–10% describe a severe fear that is crippling. This could lead to adverse maternal and fetal outcomes. Data on fear of childbirth among pregnant women are lacking in India and would help in incorporating measures to enhance routine antenatal care. Methodology: With the objective of documenting fear of childbirth and associated factors, a cross-sectional study was conducted in rural Karnataka among women availing antenatal care services, using a face-validated 30 item questionnaire developed by the authors which was then scored to determine fear of childbirth. Results: Of 388 women studied, 45.4% (176) had a fear of childbirth. The commonest fears documented were: not feeling confident about childbirth, being afraid or tense about the process of childbirth, fear of labor pains, and fear of cesarean section. Teenage pregnancy, nulliparity, primigravida status, and having no living child were significantly associated with fear of childbirth. Conclusion: Overall, 45.4% (176) of women had a fear of childbirth. It is important to identify and address the various fears of childbirth that women may have, as revealed by this study, with a view to providing information and reassurance to the mother, with the aim of improved maternal and fetal outcomes.

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