Abstract

Introduction: Anxiety disorders have severe complications for a mother and her developing baby. A few studies have focused on pregnancy related anxiety and its risk factors including fear of childbirth. Therefore, the current study aimed to explore components and dimensions of this kind of anxiety. 

Methods: This qualitative study (conventional content analysis) was conducted with mothers who referred to health care centers from May to December, 2015. In order to collect data, purposive sampling and face-to-face semi-structured in-depth interviews were used. Data analysis was conducted using MAXQDA software.

Results: Twenty eight pregnant women from different social backgrounds, educational levels and ethnicities aged 18-41 years old participated in this study and after analysis, fear of childbirth was classified into four categories including the process of delivery (fear of pain, prolonged labor, loss of  control, being left alone during delivery, fear of her own incompetency), time of delivery (fear of preterm labor, fear of unknown delivery time, fear of late arrival to hospital),delivery complications (fear of bleeding, fear of death, postpartum depression, delivery accidents, genitalia injuries and fetal health problems) and healthcare quality (hospital facilities, lack of trust in maternity staff and lack of trust in obstetricians).

Conclusions: The results suggest that supporting, reassuring and educating pregnant mothers and giving information about delivery room, labor and strategies for coping with fear of pain and childbirth are critical. Changes in maternity care policies are recommended to promote positive attitudes toward normal delivery.

 

Keywords: Fear, Childbirth, Pregnancy related anxiety, Normal delivery
 
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