Fear of childbirth in expectant fathers, subsequent childbirth experience and impact of antenatal education: subanalysis of results from a randomized controlled trial

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Abstract

Objective

To explore if antenatal fear of childbirth in men affects their experience of the birth event and if this experience is associated with type of childbirth preparation.

Design

Data from a randomized controlled multicenter trial on antenatal education.

Setting

15 antenatal clinics in Sweden between January 2006 and May 2007.

Sample

762 men, of whom 83 (10.9%) suffered from fear of childbirth. Of these 83 men, 39 were randomized to psychoprophylaxis childbirth preparation where men were trained to coach their partners during labor and 44 to standard care antenatal preparation for childbirth and parenthood without such training.

Methods

Experience of childbirth was compared between men with and without fear of childbirth regardless of randomization, and between fearful men in the randomized groups. Analyses by logistic regression adjusted for sociodemographic variables.

Main outcome measures

Self-reported data on experience of childbirth including an adapted version of the Wijma Delivery Experience Questionnaire (W-DEQ B).

Results

Men with antenatal fear of childbirth more often experienced childbirth as frightening than men without fear: adjusted odds ratio 4.68, 95% confidence interval 2.67–8.20. Men with antenatal fear in the psychoprophylaxis group rated childbirth as frightening less often than those in standard care: adjusted odds ratio 0.30, 95% confidence interval 0.10–0.95.

Conclusions

Men who suffer from antenatal fear of childbirth are at higher risk of experiencing childbirth as frightening. Childbirth preparation including training as a coach may help fearful men to a more positive childbirth experience. Additional studies are needed to support this conclusion.

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