How social context impacts on women's fears of childbirth: A Western Australian example
MetadataShow full item record
This paper addresses the limited sociological understanding of the phenomena of childbirth fear using data from a qualitative research project conducted in Western Australia. This qualitative study used an exploratory descriptive design, with 22 women identified as being fearful of birth participating in an in-depth interview. Data analysis using the method of constant comparison revealed that social context, explored within the framework of the medicalisation of childbirth, and the intervening circumstances in which the women gave birth, impacted on how and why they experienced fear. As such, this paper argues that fear of childbirth has social as well as personal dimensions and is both a prospective and retrospective phenomena.The analysis identified prospective fear as both social and personal. The social dimensions were labelled as 'fear of the unknown', 'horror stories' and 'general fear for the well-being of the baby'. Personal dimensions included the 'fear of pain', 'losing control and disempowerment' and 'uniqueness of each birth'. Retrospective fear was exclusively personal and was clustered around the themes of 'previous horror birth' and 'speed of birth'. The analysis also revealed two central factors that mediated against childbirth fear: positive relationships formed with midwives, and the support women received from their informal network. Understanding and unpacking the dimensions of women's childbirth fear, and understanding the nature of relationships that mediate women's fear, provides health care professionals with information on which to base potential intervention strategies and support women in ways that lessen rather than heighten their fear.
Fisher, Colleen and Hauck, Yvonne and Fenwick, Jennifer (2006) How social context impacts on women's fears of childbirth: A Western Australian example, Social Science and Medicine 63:64-75.
The link to this article is:
Copyright 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Cross-cultural development and psychometric evaluation of a measure to assess fear of childbirth prior to pregnancyStoll, K.; Hauck, Yvonne; Downe, S.; Edmonds, J.; Gross, M.; Malott, A.; McNiven, P.; Swift, E.; Thomson, G.; Hall, W. (2015)© 2016. Background: Assessment of childbirth fear, in advance of pregnancy, and early identification of modifiable factors contributing to fear can inform public health initiatives and/or school-based educational programming ...
Pre-and postpartum levels of childbirth fear and the relationship to birth outcomes in a cohort of Australian womenFenwick, Jennifer; Gamble, J.; Nathan, E.; Bayes, Sara; Hauck, Yvonne (2009)To investigate pre- and postpartum levels of childbirth fear in a cohort of childbearing women and explore the relationship to birth outcomes.While results are mixed, there is evidence that fear of childbirth is associated ...
Effectiveness of a mindfulness-based childbirth education pilot study on maternal self-efficacy and fear of childbirthByrne, J.; Hauck, Yvonne; Fisher, C.; Bayes, Sara; Schutze, R. (2013)Introduction: This pilot study tested the feasibility and effectiveness of using Mindfulness-Based Childbirth Education (MBCE), a novel integration of mindfulness meditation and skills-based childbirth education, for ...