The role of women's emotional profiles in birth outcome and birth experience

Ingegerd Hildingsson, Christine Rubertsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The aim was to investigate birth outcome and birth experience in relation to women's emotional heslth. An additional aim was to explore the relationship between emotional health, continuity with a known midwife, and the birth experience.

METHODS: A prospective longitudinal cohort study of 243 women enrolled in a continuity of care project in a rural area in Sweden. Profiles were constructed from instruments measuring depressive symptoms, worries, fear of birth, and sense of coherence. Antenatal and birth records and questionnaires were used to collect data.

RESULT: Women were categorized into two cluster profiles: "emotionally healthy" vs. "emotionally unhealthy". Women in the "emotionally unhealthy" cluster had a less positive birth experience (p = 0.006). The total score of the Childbirth Experience Questionnaire was highest in women who had had a known midwife assisting at birth. Babies born to women in the "emotionally unhealthy" cluster were more likely to have a severe neonatal diagnosis.

CONCLUSION: There were few differences in birth outcome between the clusters, while there were explicit differences in the childbirth experience. Having a known midwife is important to warrant women a more positive childbirth experience. Screening with validated instruments during antenatal care could be a first step to further investigate women's emotional well-being and provide targeted psychosocial support.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of psychosomatic obstetrics and gynaecology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021 Feb 15

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology

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