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Keywords:

  • Cesarean section;
  • delivery;
  • fear of childbirth;
  • pregnancy

Abstract

Objective. Most pregnant women are anxious about the delivery and up to 30% develop varying degrees of fear of childbirth (FOC). Secondary FOC occurs in parous women who have experienced a traumatic delivery. The aim of this study was to investigate the time to subsequent delivery and delivery outcome in women with secondary FOC, compared with a reference group. Setting. Southeast Sweden. Sample. 356 parous pregnant women with secondary FOC and a reference group of 634 parous women without FOC. Design. Descriptive, retrospective case–control study. Main outcome measures. Time to next pregnancy and delivery outcome. Results. More women with secondary FOC had a longer interval to subsequent delivery compared with parous women without FOC (p = 0.005). Women with secondary FOC had 5.2 times higher probability of having a cesarean section than the reference group. Women with secondary FOC also had on average a 40-minute longer duration of active labor than women without FOC (p < 0.001). Conclusions. Secondary fear of childbirth prolongs the time to subsequent delivery and the active phase of labor itself, and increases the risk for cesarean section.