• Examining the Correlation between Fear of Childbirth and Postnatal Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

      Hayes, Liane; Goodyear, Georgina (University of Chester, 2017)
      The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between Fear of Childbirth and Postnatal Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. These are two under researched areas of Psychology and maternal mental health is a serious psychological, medical and social concern. There is literature to suggest that suffering from a severe fear of childbirth and subsequent symptoms of trauma can have a grave impact on a postnatal woman’s life, negatively affecting the mother-infant relationship and thus hindering the development of the child. In order to investigate the relationship between the two co-variables, this study adopted a within-subjects design. Women who had given birth within the last two years were invited to participant by completing an online survey. The perceived fear of childbirth that had been experienced by mothers during labour was measured using a numeric total fear score, attained by the Wijma Delivery Expectancy/Experience Questionnaire (WDEQ-B; Wijma, Wijma, & Zar, 1998). Reported symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that were attributed to the experience of childbirth were measured using a numeric total score, attained by the Impact of Events Scale – Revised (Weiss, 2007). A Cronbach’s Alpha suggested that the results and questionnaires displayed a high reliability and internal consistency. A Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient demonstrated a positive correlation between Fear of Childbirth and trauma symptoms experienced by women. Multiple linear regressions demonstrated how participant demographics such as age, parity, and time since delivery influenced both fear of childbirth and trauma experienced. The findings of this study suggest that there is a relationship between Fear of Childbirth and Postnatal Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and further research is required in order to contribute to these being recognised as clinical psychological disorders. This would benefit the maternal healthcare community as it would inform interventions and support mechanisms to be provided by healthcare professionals to perinatal women in order to attempt to reduce the negative mental impacts of childbirth.