Fear of Childbirth Tied to Higher Odds of Cesarean Section

Elective and emergency cesarean sections more frequent despite psychological counseling

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Emergency and elective cesarean sections (CS) are more common in women with a fear of childbirth, even after psychological counseling, according to a study published online July 24 in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica.

Gunilla Sydsjö, Ph.D., from Linköping University in Sweden, and colleagues compared the obstetric outcomes in an index group of 353 women referred to a psychosocial obstetrics and gynecology unit due to fear of childbirth with a control group of 579 women without fear of childbirth.

The investigators found that elective CS was significantly more frequent in the women who feared childbirth, as was emergency CS for these women in the index group who were initially scheduled for vaginal delivery. Women in the index group had significantly higher rates of induced deliveries than those in the control group (16.5 versus 9.6 percent). Among parous women who feared childbirth, elective CS was more common, and among nulliparous women with childbirth fear, instrumental delivery was more common. The index and control groups had no differences in complications during the pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum periods.

"Fear of childbirth is a predisposing factor for emergency and elective CS even after psychological counseling. Maximal effort is necessary to avoid traumatizing deliveries and negative experiences, especially for nulliparous women," the authors write.

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