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Abstract

In a group of late pregnant women we investigated the prevalence of extreme fear of childbirth and anxiety disorders, both assessed by means of diagnostic interviews. We also explored the relation between anxiety disorders and extreme fear of childbirth on the one hand and fear of childbirth, as measured by means of the Wijma Delivery Expectancy/Experience Questionnaire (W-DEQ), on the other hand. A subgroup of women (2.4%) fulfilled the criteria for a phobia-like fear of childbirth. Anxiety disorders were related to fear of childbirth, as measured by the W-DEQ. The group of women with extreme fear of childbirth (with or without anxiety disorders) had obviously the highest W-DEQ scores. But also in the group of women with anxiety disorders only the W-DEQ scores were high. Clinical assessment of anxiety disorders among pregnant women should be considered, above all in women who report fear of the anticipated delivery. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.