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Examining the content and moderators of women's fears for giving birth: A meta-synthesis

Sheen, K and Slade, P (2017) Examining the content and moderators of women's fears for giving birth: A meta-synthesis. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 27 (13-14). pp. 2523-2535. ISSN 1365-2702

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Aims and objectives: This meta‐synthesis aimed to identify key elements contributing to FOC derived from women's own reports.
Background: Fear of childbirth (FOC) encompasses fear or anxiety about giving birth, which can resemble a phobic response. FOC holds implications for women's antenatal and postnatal well‐being, and decisions made about the birth but a clear definition of the construct does not exist.
Method: A meta‐synthesis was conducted by searching databases (Web of Knowledge, CINAHL, EBSCO, MEDLINE, PsychInfo and PsychArticles) for qualitative studies describing women's perspectives with respect to fear, anxiety, concerns, phobia or stress about birth. A total of 25 papers, reporting findings from 24 studies, fulfilled eligibility criteria and were included in the synthesis.
Results: Six key elements of FOC were identified; fears of the unknown, potential for injury, pain, capacity to give birth, losing control and adequacy of support from care providers. A single overarching theme linking all elements was “the unpredictability of childbirth.” Three moderators of FOC were also identified; awareness of negative birthing experiences, information received about birth and support received from care providers.
Conclusions: Findings highlight the role of uncertainty in the birthing process as an overarching theme underpinning women's fears. Enhancing tolerance of uncertainty may be a way to reduce women's FOC.
Relevance to clinical practice: Identification of the elements and moderators of FOC provide an insight into the potential mechanisms that contribute to women's fears, which can be used to inform methods of identifying women with FOC or a basis upon which to base supportive strategies to reduce women's fears for giving birth.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the accepted version of the following article: Sheen K, Slade P. Examining the content and moderators of women's fears for giving birth: A meta‐synthesis. J Clin Nurs. 2018;00:1–13. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocn.14219, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jocn.14219
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1110 Nursing, 1701 Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Divisions: Natural Sciences & Psychology (closed 31 Aug 19)
Publisher: Wiley
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2018 10:57
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 10:39
DOI or ID number: 10.1111/jocn.14219
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/8297
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