Many women experience an array of negative feelings and emotions that accompany pregnancy and delivery. These may have detrimental effects on both maternal and neonatal pregnancy outcomes. Fear of childbirth has gained growing attention since one of five pregnant women fear childbirth.
In a study published in the Journal of Perinatal Medicine, the authors evaluated the effect of attending a prenatal childbirth preparation course on labor duration and perinatal outcomes. The study was conducted on women in their first delivery comparing those who attended (study group) and those who did not attend (control group) a childbirth preparation course (CPC). Anxiety was evaluated as well as clinical and obstetrical data. Through post-partum interviews, coping strategies were assessed, patients graded their childbirth experience and breastfeeding was evaluated.
The authors demonstrated that there are several factors that have been associated with increased prevalence of fear of childbirth, including young maternal age, having never given birth before, pre-existing psychological problems, lack of social support and a history of abuse or adverse obstetric events. Symptoms of anxiety and fear of childbirth may manifest as nightmares, physical complaints and difficulties in concentrating on work or on family activities.
Studies evaluating CPCs and other interventions have shown conflicting results. Favorable effects such as reduction in non-progressive deliveries, decreased duration of vaginal labor and caesarean sections were noted. Moreover, reducing high childbirth fear levels and increasing childbirth confidence in pregnant women promotes emotional well-being and may have wider positive social and maternity care implications for optimal childbirth experiences. However, other studies have shown no reduction in the request for a caesarian section or use of overall pain relief medication.
Through the study the authors established that the anxiety level of the women was significantly lower in the study group compared with controls. The first stage of labor and the entire duration of labor were significantly shorter for women who attended the CPC. No significant differences were found with regard to the mode of delivery, rate of episiotomy, use of analgesics and neonatal outcomes between the groups. However, women in the study group rated their labor experience significantly higher and exhibited significantly higher rates of breastfeeding than women in the control group.
Overall, the knowledge acquired in the CPC had positive effects on the course of labor and delivery outcomes as well as on higher rates of breastfeeding.
Read the original article here:
David Yohai, Debi Alharar, Ruthi Cohen, Zohar Kaltian, Barak Aricha-Tamir, Saviona Ben Aion, Zehava Yohai, Adi Y. Weintraub: The effect of attending a prenatal childbirth preparedness course on labor duration and outcomes, 28.02.2017