Previous negative experiences of healthcare reported by Swedish pregnant women with fear of birth - A mixed method study

Birgitta Larsson, Christine Rubertsson, Ingegerd Hildingsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Negative encounters in healthcare might affect women's health. During their reproductive life span, women are exposed to various health examinations, and have reported disrespectful care and obstetric violence. Such experiences might be a basis for fear of birth. Aim: to explore and describe the prevalence, associated factors and experiences of previous negative healthcare encounters in women with fear of birth. Methods: A cross-sectional mixed-method study of 335 pregnant women with fear of birth. Data were collected by a questionnaire in mid-pregnancy, which included socio-demographic and obstetric background data as well as a question about the occurrence of previous negative experiences in healthcare. Result: A previous negative experience of healthcare was found in 189 women (56.6%). The analysis of the women's comments regarding what caused their negative experiences generated three themes: disrespectful treatment and no one listened; painful, inadequate, or improper care; and impact of other people's stories. Conclusion: This study showed that previous negative experiences in healthcare were common in women with fear of birth and the content of the encounters could be summarised as disrespectful care and obstetric violence. Women's previous encounters in healthcare might be an underlying reason for fear of birth and should be investigated. It is, therefore, of utmost importance to listen to women and their narratives in order to establish a trustful relationship and promote evidence-based, women-centred, respectful care, which is urgently needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100859
JournalSexual and Reproductive Healthcare
Volume36
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine

Free keywords

  • Fear of birth
  • Negative encounters
  • Pregnancy

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