Contents of childbirth-related fear among couples wishing the partner's presence at delivery

J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 1998 Mar;19(1):38-43. doi: 10.3109/01674829809044219.


In order to explore the contents of childbirth-related fears, a survey was carried out among 216 pairs of prospective parents who opted for the presence of the partner at delivery. Each couple took part in a three-class parentcraft course during the third trimester. During the first antenatal class, couples were asked to fill in a questionnaire with inquiries about specific contents of fear they might have in relation to pregnancy, childbirth and relationship with their partner after childbirth. Each item of the questionnaire called for an answer from a five-grade scale of fear such as 'absolutely not', 'slightly', 'quite', 'quite strongly' and 'very much'. Their worries were ranked according to the weighted average of the frequency of positive answers. More than 80% of both men and women had some fears relating to childbirth. Women were most worried about, in order of significance, having a malformed or injured baby, assisted or operative delivery, being lonely in a strange environment, doing something wrong, and facing the uncertainties of how the delivery was going to happen. The wife having severe pain and suffering, operative delivery, fetal birth injuries, helplessness, powerlessness and the wife's death in childbirth were the most significant subjects of men's fears. Eighty per cent of women and 76% of men felt that the presence of the partner at delivery would have no adverse effect on their future personal relationship.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Congenital Abnormalities
  • Fear*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Labor, Obstetric / psychology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obstetric Labor Complications
  • Parents / education
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Spouses / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires