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Fear of childbirth is common in women who are pregnant with their first child and is associated with important consequences such as abortions and miscarriages. Twenty percent of nulliparous women seem to exhibit a mild or moderate fear, while 6% present an excessive and irrational fear known as tocophobia. Tocophobia is suggested to be associated with many negative consequences such as postpartum depression (PPD) and Post-traumatic stress (PTS). However, there is little empirical evidence to support these relationships. Recently, Fairbrother and Woody (2007) did not observe a link between the fear of childbirth and symptoms of PPD and PTS in nulliparous women. Some results, near the significance level, could be explained by a lack of statistical power. The present study focused on the link between the fear of childbirth and the process of delivery, the perception of pain, PPD and PTS. More specifically, it aimed to test three hypotheses: (i) fear of childbirth will be linked to the process of delivery, especially regarding the perception of pain, the use of anaesthesia and the use of Caesarean section; (ii) a high level of fear of childbirth will be associated with more negative postpartum consequences (namely PPD/PTS symptoms); (iii) the process of delivery and pain will also be related to post-delivery symptoms. Mediation effects were tested.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Journal Article

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Alternative title: La peur de l’accouchement chez des nullipares: lien avec la douleur lors de l’accouchement, les symptômes de stress post-traumatique et les symptômes dépressifs post-partum

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