Birth rate among women with fear of childbirth: a nationwide register-based cohort study in Finland

Matias Vaajala, Rasmus Liukkonen, Ville Ponkilainen, Ville M. Mattila, Maiju Kekki, Ilari Kuitunen

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Abstract

PURPOSE: The association between fear of childbirth (FOC) and subsequent birth rate is not well studied. The aim of this study is to evaluate the birth rate, and risk for second pregnancy ending in delivery among women with FOC compared to women without FOC in their first pregnancy. METHODS: Data from the National Medical Birth Register were used to evaluate the birth rate after the first pregnancy in women with FOC. Cox regression model was used to evaluate the risk for the second pregnancy ending in delivery in women with FOC compared to reference individuals without FOC. The results were interpreted with adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). RESULTS: In total, 375,619 women were included in this study. Of these, 9660 (2.6%) had FOC in the first pregnancy (exposed group), and 365,959 (97.4%) had no FOC (non-exposed group). In the exposed group, 3600 (37.3%) women had second pregnancy ending in delivery during the study period, and 206,347 (56.4%) had the second pregnancy ending in delivery in the non-exposed group. The risk for the second pregnancy ending in delivery was lower among women with FOC (aHR 0.61, CI 0.59-0.63). CONCLUSIONS: FOC complicates pregnancy and delivery and is strongly associated with lower likelihood to get pregnant again. Therefore, more research should be focused on the optimal prevention of FOC using a standardized procedure of care and treatment for women with FOC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-48
Number of pages5
JournalANNALS OF EPIDEMIOLOGY
Volume79
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Birth rate
  • Epidemiology
  • Fear of childbirth

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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