Personality, fear of childbirth and birth outcomes in nulliparous women

Jonathan E. Handelzalts*, Gideon Becker, Marie Paule Ahren, Samuel Lurie, Nili Raz, Ziva Tamir, Oscar Sadan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study was aimed at investigating the delivery continuum starting from constant personality variables and their association with Fear of childbirth (FOC) pre-partum, following the association of FOC pre-partum with the delivery process (as measured by birth outcome variables and subjective experience) and the effect of all of these variables over FOC post-partum.Methods: In this prospective questionnaire study, 101 nulliparous, singleton pregnancy, healthy parturients were randomly recruited during 2011. Questionnaires were administered on admittance to the delivery ward (FOC, anxiety-sensitivity index, demographic information) and 2 days post-partum (FOC, Big five inventory and a question regarding the birth experience). Medical Variables were taken from medical records.Results: FOC pre- and post-partum were associated with neuroticism (p < 0.05; p < 0.01) and anxiety sensitivity (p < 0.01). FOC pre-partum was correlated with mode of delivery, higher FOC pre-partum associated with instrumental delivery and emergency CS (p < 0.01). FOC post-partum was associated with both mode of delivery and length of the second phase of delivery (p < 0.05). Hierarchical regression analysis showed FOC pre-partum (β = 0.35, p < 0.01), anxiety sensitivity (β = 0.38, p < 0.01), mode of delivery (β = 0.19, p < 0.05) and birth experience (β = −0.17, p < 0.05) as major predictors for high FOC post-partum explaining 61 % of variance (F(7,84) = 16.82; p < 0.001).Conclusions: The difference between FOC levels pre- and post-partum was associated with personality variables and birth outcomes resulting in a model describing the variance in FOC post-partum by all of the above mentioned variables. As the implications of FOC over delivery outcomes are evident, women suffering from FOC pre-partum should be screened routinely before delivery and offered proper care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1055-1062
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • Fear of childbirth
  • Mode of delivery
  • Personality


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