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Midwives’ counselling of women at specialised fear of childbirth clinics: A qualitative study

Journal article
Authors Christina Nilsson
Published in Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare
Volume 19
Pages 24-30
ISSN 1877-5756
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Health and Care Sciences
Pages 24-30
Language en
Keywords Content analysis, Counselling, Experiences, Fear of childbirth, Midwifery, Treatment
Subject categories Reproductive and perinatal care


Objective: Fear of childbirth is a well-known problem affecting women's wellbeing and health. The prevalence of intense fear varies across countries from 4.8 to 14.8%. During the past 25 years in Sweden women with intense fear of childbirth have been offered counselling at specialised clinics staffed by midwives. Although the counselling demonstrates positive results, the training, education, supervision and organisation differ between clinics. It is still unclear which approaches and practices are the most beneficial. The aim was to explore and describe the counselling of women with intense fear of childbirth from the viewpoint of midwives who provide counselling in specialised fear of childbirth clinics in one region of Sweden. Methods: A qualitative study of 13 midwives using focus group interviews and inductive content analysis. Results: The midwives’ counselling of women with intense fear of childbirth is described as ‘striving to create a safe place for exploring fear of childbirth’ comprising the following categories: Providing a reliable relationship; Investigating previous and present fears; and A strong dedication to the women. Conclusion: Although there are no guidelines for the counselling the midwives described similar frameworks. Some approaches were general, while others were specific and related to the individual woman's parity. The midwives achieved professional and personal development through counselling experiences. The findings add to the existing literature on counselling and can be used to inform the development of midwife-led interventions for women with intense fear of childbirth and previous traumatic births, as well as for the formal education of midwives. © 2018

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