The impact of childbirth preparation and support on labor and birth outcomes
The purpose of this study was to investigate various types and levels of childbirth preparation and social support and their impact on women's childbirth experiences. Forty-five primiparous women recruited from health care facilities and childbirth preparation classes participated in the study. After the birth of their infants, participants completed a survey in their homes and mailed it to the investigator. The survey contained the following dependent measures: (1) Background Information; (2) Childbirth Preparation Measure; (3) Support Behaviors Inventory; (4) Labor Support Index; (5) Labor Agentry Scale; (6) Labor/Delivery Evaluation Scale; and (7) Labor and Delivery Information Measure. It was hypothesized that pain perception and perceived control would be predicted by formal childbirth preparation and social support during labor, and that satisfaction with labor and delivery would be predicted by social support during labor and perceived control. Results indicated that labor and delivery evaluation was significantly predicted by perceived control and that perceived control and pain perception were significantly predicted by socioeconomic status. Lower income women reported higher levels of pain during childbirth, were less likely to attend childbirth preparation classes, and more likely to acquire information about childbirth from their mothers than higher income women. Women who attended classes learned more about labor and delivery and used a wider variety of coping strategies than women who did not attend classes. Findings from this study challenge the assumptions that lower and higher income women experience different childbirth outcomes, and that women who do not attend classes are "unprepared." Implications for research and practice include a re-evaluation of the way childbirth education is conceptualized.
0453: Womens studies
0680: Health education
0451: Social psychology