Childbirth fear in expectant fathers: Findings from a regional Swedish cohort study
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OBJECTIVE: to investigate the prevalence of childbirth related fear in Swedish fathers and associated factors. DESIGN: a regional cohort study. Data was collected by a questionnaire. SETTING: three hospitals in the middle-north part of Sweden PARTICIPANTS: 1047 expectant fathers recruited in mid-pregnancy during one year (2007) who completed the Fear of Birth Scale (FOBS). MEASUREMENTS: prevalence of childbirth fear and associated factors. Crude and adjusted odds ratios were calculated between men who scored 50 and above (childbirth fear) and those that did not (no fear). Logistic regression analysis was used to assess which factors contributed most to childbirth fear in fathers. FINDINGS: the prevalence of childbirth fear in men was 13.6%. Factors associated with childbirth related fear were as follows: Less positive feelings about the approaching birth (OR 3.4; 2.2-5.2), country of birth other than Sweden (OR 2.8; 1.3-6.1), a preference for a caesarean birth (OR 2.1; 1.7-4.1), childbirth thoughts in mid-pregnancy (OR 1.9; 1.1-2.0) and expecting the first baby (OR 1.8; 1.2-2.6). KEY CONCLUSIONS: high levels of fear were associated with first time fathers and being a non-native to Sweden. Men with fear were more likely to experience pregnancy and the coming birth as a negative event. These men were also more likely to identify caesarean section as their preferred mode of birth. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: engaging expectant fathers in antenatal conversations about their experiences of pregnancy and feelings about birth provides health-care professionals with an opportunity to address childbirth fear, share relevant information and promote birth as a normal but significant life event.