Fear of childbirth is a common reason for seeking cesarean section. It is important to consider outcomes and costs associated with alternative treatment and delivery mode. We compared well-being and costs of group psychoeducation and conventional care for fear of childbirth.Design.
Randomized controlled trial.Population.
A total of 371 nulliparous women scoring over the 95th centile in the Wijma Delivery Expectancy Questionnaire (W-DEQ) during the first trimester.Setting.
Finland, data from obstetrical patient records and questionnaires.Methods.
Randomization to group psychoeducation with relaxation (six sessions during pregnancy, one after childbirth, n = 131), or surveillance and referral on demand (n = 240).Main outcome measures.
All costs in maternity care during pregnancy, delivery and postnatally according to Diagnoses Related Groups. Life satisfaction and general well-being 3 months after childbirth (by a Satisfaction with Life Scale and Well-being Visual Analogue Scale).Results.
The groups did not differ in total direct costs (€3786/woman in psychoeducative group and €3830/woman in control group), nor in life satisfaction or general well-being. Although only 76 (30%) of the women assigned to the surveillance were referred to special maternity care and 36 (15%) attended advanced prenatal classes, costs in the psychoeducation group did not exceed the costs of the controls, mostly because of the greater number of uncomplicated vaginal deliveries (63% vs. 47%, p = 0.005).Conclusions.
Through an association with safer childbirth and equal well-being after delivery, psychoeducative group treatment for nulliparous women with fear of childbirth can be a recommended choice for the same overall costs as conventional treatment.