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Archives of Women's Mental Health

, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 363–369 | Cite as

The influence of general anxiety and childbirth-specific anxiety on birth outcome

  • C. ReckEmail author
  • K. Zimmer
  • S. Dubber
  • B. Zipser
  • B. Schlehe
  • S. Gawlik
Original Article

Abstract

In the present study, we examined a German sample to determine whether anxiety symptoms during pregnancy had an impact on the duration and method of childbirth. Data of N = 88 women recruited at the Heidelberg University Hospital were used in the analyses. Prepartum anxiety symptoms were assessed with the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI, general anxiety) and the Pregnancy Related Anxiety Questionnaire (PRAQ-R, pregnancy-specific anxiety). Obstetric outcome was taken from birth records and operationalized by two parameters: the total duration of birth (dilation and fetal expulsion) and the incidence of pregnancy or birth-related interventions (ventouse, planned, and unplanned Cesarean section). The data show that childbirth-specific anxiety assessed by the PRAQ-R is an important predictor of total birth duration. In contrast, general anxiety measured by the STAI had no effect. The incidence of birth intervention was explained by parity. Anxiety, however, had no predictive value. In addition to medical factors, childbirth-specific anxiety during pregnancy plays an important role in the process of childbirth. The findings of the present study point to the need of implementing psychological interventions to reduce childbirth-specific anxiety and thereby positively influencing birth outcome.

Keywords

Prepartum anxiety symptoms Childbirth-specific anxiety Obstetric outcome German sample 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Reck
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • K. Zimmer
    • 1
  • S. Dubber
    • 1
  • B. Zipser
    • 1
  • B. Schlehe
    • 2
  • S. Gawlik
    • 2
  1. 1.General Psychiatry, Center for Psychosocial MedicineHeidelberg University HospitalHeidelbergGermany
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyHeidelberg University HospitalHeidelbergGermany
  3. 3.Klinik für Allgemeine PsychiatrieZentrum für Psychosoziale MedizinHeidelbergGermany

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