Fears and coping strategies associated with pregnancy and childbirth in Finland

J Midwifery Womens Health. Jul-Aug 2002;47(4):256-63. doi: 10.1016/s1526-9523(02)00263-5.


The purpose of this study was to describe the causes of fear associated with pregnancy and childbirth and to describe coping strategies of pregnant women who have fears. Data were collected by using semistructured interviews on the maternity units of two university hospitals in Finland. A convenience sample of 20 women served as participants, and data were analyzed by using content analysis techniques. In most cases, the source of fear was either previous experience and knowledge or uncertainty. In some cases, the source of fear was beliefs about childbirth with no clear origin of the belief. Knowledge was described as a means of dealing with fear, as were talking, writing, and reasoning. When seeking help, many participants relied on their social network and on health care professionals, but some sought information independently from books, magazines, etc. Methods for dispelling or alleviating fear included talking about feelings, increasing knowledge, accessing health care services, referring to positive experiences, receiving reassurance from medical screening, and/or feeling the baby move. Knowledge can be a cause of fear, but its ability to decrease fear is of greater consequence. What seemed to matter most was the way in which information is given.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Fear / psychology*
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Labor, Obstetric / psychology*
  • Maternal-Child Health Centers
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods
  • Pregnancy / psychology*
  • Social Support