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1.  Pain acceptance and personal control in pain relief in two maternity care models: a cross-national comparison of Belgium and the Netherlands 
A cross-national comparison of Belgian and Dutch childbearing women allows us to gain insight into the relative importance of pain acceptance and personal control in pain relief in 2 maternity care models. Although Belgium and the Netherlands are neighbouring countries sharing the same language, political system and geography, they are characterised by a different organisation of health care, particularly in maternity care. In Belgium the medical risks of childbirth are emphasised but neutralised by a strong belief in the merits of the medical model. Labour pain is perceived as a needless inconvenience easily resolved by means of pain medication. In the Netherlands the midwifery model of care defines childbirth as a normal physiological process and family event. Labour pain is perceived as an ally in the birth process.
Women were invited to participate in the study by independent midwives and obstetricians during antenatal visits in 2004-2005. Two questionnaires were filled out by 611 women, one at 30 weeks of pregnancy and one within the first 2 weeks after childbirth either at home or in a hospital. However, only women having a hospital birth without obstetric intervention (N = 327) were included in this analysis. A logistic regression analysis has been performed.
Labour pain acceptance and personal control in pain relief render pain medication use during labour less likely, especially if they occur together. Apart from this general result, we also find large country differences. Dutch women with a normal hospital birth are six times less likely to use pain medication during labour, compared to their Belgian counterparts. This country difference cannot be explained by labour pain acceptance, since - in contrast to our working hypothesis - Dutch and Belgian women giving birth in a hospital setting are characterised by a similar labour pain acceptance. Our findings suggest that personal control in pain relief can partially explain the country differences in coping with labour pain. For Dutch women we find that the use of pain medication is lowest if women experience control over the reception of pain medication and have a positive attitude towards labour pain. In Belgium however, not personal control over the use of pain relief predicts the use of pain medication, but negative attitudes towards labour.
Apart from individual level determinants, such as length of labour or pain acceptance, our findings suggest that the maternity care context is of major importance in the study of the management of labour pain. The pain medication use in Belgian hospital maternity care is high and is very sensitive to negative attitudes towards labour pain. In the Netherlands, on the contrary, pain medication use is already low. This can partially be explained by a low degree of personal control in pain relief, especially when co-occurring with positive pain attitudes.
PMCID: PMC2944275  PMID: 20831798
2.  Does a referral from home to hospital affect satisfaction with childbirth? A cross-national comparison 
The Belgian and Dutch societies present many similarities but differ with regard to the organisation of maternity care. The Dutch way of giving birth is well known for its high percentage of home births and its low medical intervention rate. In contrast, home births in Belgium are uncommon and the medical model is taken for granted. Dutch and Belgian maternity care systems are compared with regard to the influence of being referred to specialist care during pregnancy or intrapartum while planning for a home birth. We expect that a referral will result in lower satisfaction with childbirth, especially in Belgium.
Two questionnaires were filled out by 605 women, one at 30 weeks of pregnancy and one within the first two weeks after childbirth, either at home or in a hospital. Of these, 563 questionnaires were usable for analysis. Women were invited to participate in the study by independent midwives and obstetricians during antenatal visits in 2004–2005. Satisfaction with childbirth was measured by the Mackey Satisfaction with Childbirth Rating Scale, which takes into account the multidimensional nature of the concept.
Belgian women are more satisfied than Dutch women and home births are more satisfying than hospital births. Women who are referred to the hospital while planning for a home birth are less satisfied than women who planned to give birth in hospital and did. A referral has a greater negative impact on satisfaction for Dutch women.
There is no reason to believe Dutch women receive hospital care of lesser quality than Belgian women in case of a referral. Belgian and Dutch attach different meaning to being referred, resulting in a different evaluation of childbirth. In the Dutch maternity care system home births lead to higher satisfaction, but once a referral to the hospital is necessary satisfaction drops and ends up lower than satisfaction with hospital births that were planned in advance. We need to understand more about referral processes and how women experience them.
PMCID: PMC1939703  PMID: 17626631
3.  The Impact of Labour Epidural Analgesia on the Childbirth Expectation and Experience at a Tertiary Care Center in Southern India. 
Background: Labour epidural analgesia is increasingly used as a means of pain relief for women during labour and delivery. The significant pain during labour and delivery can be terrifying for mothers-to-be and the prospect of relief from pain can help reduce fear of childbirth to an extent. However, it is not necessary that reduced fear of childbirth may lead to an increased satisfaction with the childbirth experience.
Aim: To determine the influence of labour epidural analgesia (LEA) on the experience of childbirth in pregnant women at a tertiary care center in southern India
Materials and Methods: A pre-post interventional non-randomized study design at a tertiary care perinatal institute that used the Wijma Delivery Expectation and Experience questionnaires to determine baseline expectations of labour and childbirth and the actual experience in pregnant women. Labour analgesia was provided on maternal request or demand. Total and domain scores were compared between the two groups using non-parametric tests and a generalized linear repeated measures model after adjusting for factors that were found significant in the bivariate model.
Results: The study included 235 pregnant women who opted for LEA and 219 pregnant women who opted against LEA. Overall, 37 (15.74%) of woman with LEA and 30 (13.70%) of women without LEA had a worse than expected experience of childbirth. Significant pain relief (p<0.001) was provided with LEA, however, the post-delivery scores did not differ significantly between the two groups (F=0.90, p=0.34) in a generalized linear repeated measures model.
Conclusion: Maternal satisfaction with the process of childbirth is a complex dynamic that is not limited to the significant relief from pain provided by LEA.
PMCID: PMC4003692  PMID: 24783086
Maternal satisfaction; Labour epidural analgesia; Pain relief; Childbirth; Delivery
4.  Factors associated with childbirth self-efficacy in Australian childbearing women 
Childbirth confidence is an important marker of women’s coping abilities during labour and birth. This study investigated socio-demographic, obstetric and psychological factors affecting self-efficacy in childbearing women.
This paper presents a secondary analysis of data collected as part of the BELIEF study (Birth Emotions – Looking to Improve Expectant Fear). Women (n = 1410) were recruited during pregnancy (≤24 weeks gestation). The survey included socio-demographic details (such as age and partner support); obstetric details including parity, birth preference, and pain; and standardised psychological measures: CBSEI (Childbirth Self-efficacy Inventory), W-DEQ A (childbirth fear) and EPDS (depressive symptoms). Variables were tested against CBSEI first stage of labour sub-scales (outcome expectancy and self-efficacy expectancy) according to parity.
CBSEI total mean score was 443 (SD = 112.2). CBSEI, W-DEQ, EPDS scores were highly correlated. Regardless of parity, women who reported low childbirth knowledge, who preferred a caesarean section, and had high W-DEQ and EPDS scores reported lower self-efficacy. There were no differences for nulliparous or multiparous women on outcome expectancy, but multiparous women had higher self-efficacy scores (p < .001). Multiparous women whose partner was unsupportive were more likely to report low self-efficacy expectancy (p < .05). Experiencing moderate pain in pregnancy was significantly associated with low self-efficacy expectancy in both parity groups, as well as low outcome expectancy in nulliparous women only. Fear correlated strongly with low childbirth self-efficacy.
Few studies have investigated childbirth self-efficacy according to parity. Although multiparous women reported higher birth confidence significant obstetric and psychological differences were found. Addressing women’s physical and emotional wellbeing and perceptions of the upcoming birth may highlight their level of self-efficacy for birth.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Controlled Trials Registry ACTRN12612000526875, 17th May 2012.
PMCID: PMC4333169
Pregnancy; Childbirth self-efficacy; Parity; Caesarean section; Fear; Depression
5.  The influence of women’s fear, attitudes and beliefs of childbirth on mode and experience of birth 
Women’s fears and attitudes to childbirth may influence the maternity care they receive and the outcomes of birth. This study aimed to develop profiles of women according to their attitudes regarding birth and their levels of childbirth related fear. The association of these profiles with mode and outcomes of birth was explored.
Prospective longitudinal cohort design with self report questionnaires containing a set of attitudinal statements regarding birth (Birth Attitudes Profile Scale) and a fear of birth scale (FOBS). Pregnant women responded at 18-20 weeks gestation and two months after birth from a regional area of Sweden (n = 386) and a regional area of Australia (n = 123). Cluster analysis was used to identify a set of profiles. Odds ratios (95% CI) were calculated, comparing cluster membership for country of care, pregnancy characteristics, birth experience and outcomes.
Three clusters were identified – ‘Self determiners’ (clear attitudes about birth including seeing it as a natural process and no childbirth fear), ‘Take it as it comes’ (no fear of birth and low levels of agreement with any of the attitude statements) and ‘Fearful’ (afraid of birth, with concerns for the personal impact of birth including pain and control, safety concerns and low levels of agreement with attitudes relating to women’s freedom of choice or birth as a natural process). At 18 -20 weeks gestation, when compared to the ‘Self determiners’, women in the ‘Fearful’ cluster were more likely to: prefer a caesarean (OR = 3.3 CI: 1.6-6.8), hold less than positive feelings about being pregnant (OR = 3.6 CI: 1.4-9.0), report less than positive feelings about the approaching birth (OR = 7.2 CI: 4.4-12.0) and less than positive feelings about the first weeks with a newborn (OR = 2.0 CI 1.2-3.6). At two months post partum the ‘Fearful’ cluster had a greater likelihood of having had an elective caesarean (OR = 5.4 CI 2.1-14.2); they were more likely to have had an epidural if they laboured (OR = 1.9 CI 1.1-3.2) and to experience their labour pain as more intense than women in the other clusters. The ‘Fearful’ cluster were more likely to report a negative experience of birth (OR = 1.7 CI 1.02- 2.9). The ‘Take it as it comes’ cluster had a higher likelihood of an elective caesarean (OR 3.0 CI 1.1-8.0).
In this study three clusters of women were identified. Belonging to the ‘Fearful’ cluster had a negative effect on women’s emotional health during pregnancy and increased the likelihood of a negative birth experience. Both women in the ‘Take it as it comes’ and the ‘Fearful’ cluster had higher odds of having an elective caesarean compared to women in the ‘Self determiners’. Understanding women’s attitudes and level of fear may help midwives and doctors to tailor their interactions with women.
PMCID: PMC3449179  PMID: 22727217
Pregnancy; Attitudes; Childbirth fear; Cluster analysis; Scale
6.  Prevalence of childbirth fear in an Australian sample of pregnant women 
Childbirth fear is reported to affect around 20% of women. However reporting on levels of symptom severity vary. Unlike Scandinavian countries, there has been limited focus on childbirth fear in Australia. The aim of this paper is to determine the prevalence of low, moderate, high and severe levels of childbirth fear in a large representative sample of pregnant women drawn from a large randomised controlled trial and identify demographic and obstetric characteristics associated with childbirth fear.
Using a descriptive cross-sectional design, 1,410 women in their second trimester were recruited from one of three public hospitals in south-east Queensland. Participants were screened for childbirth fear using the Wijma Delivery Expectancy/Experience Questionnaire Version A (WDEQ-A). Associations of demographic and obstetric factors and levels of childbirth fear between nulliparous and multiparous women were investigated.
Prevalence of childbirth fear was 24% overall, with 31.5% of nulliparous women reporting high levels of fear (score ≥66 on the WDEQ-A) compared to 18% of multiparous women. Childbirth fear was associated with paid employment, parity, and mode of last birth, with higher levels of fear in first time mothers (p < 0.001) and in women who had previously had an operative birth (p < 0.001).
Prevalence of childbirth fear in Australian women was comparable to international rates. Significant factors associated with childbirth fear were being in paid employment, and obstetric characteristics such as parity and birth mode in the previous pregnancy. First time mothers had higher levels of fear than women who had birthed before. A previous operative birth was fear provoking. Experiencing a previous normal birth was protective of childbirth fear.
PMCID: PMC4138382  PMID: 25123448
Childbirth fear; Prevalence; Pregnancy; WDEQ-A; Caesarean section; Parity
7.  Protocol for a randomised controlled trial of a decision aid for the management of pain in labour and childbirth [ISRCTN52287533] 
Women report fear of pain in childbirth and often lack complete information on analgesic options prior to labour. Preferences for pain relief should be discussed before labour begins. A woman's antepartum decision to use pain relief is likely influenced by her cultural background, friends, family, the media, literature and her antenatal caregivers. Pregnant women report that information about analgesia was most commonly derived from hearsay and least commonly from health professionals. Decision aids are emerging as a promising tool to assist practitioners and their patients in evidence-based decision making.
Decision aids are designed to assist patients and their doctors in making informed decisions using information that is unbiased and based on high quality research evidence. Decision aids are non-directive in the sense that they do not aim to steer the user towards any one option, but rather to support decision making which is informed and consistent with personal values.
We aim to evaluate the effectiveness of a Pain Relief for Labour decision aid, with and without an audio-component, compared to a pamphlet in a three-arm randomised controlled trial. Approximately 600 women expecting their first baby and planning a vaginal birth will be recruited for the trial.
The primary outcomes of the study are decisional conflict (uncertainty about a course of action), knowledge, anxiety and satisfaction with decision-making and will be assessed using self-administered questionnaires. The decision aid is not intended to influence the type of analgesia used during labour, however we will monitor health service utilisation rates and maternal and perinatal outcomes. This study is funded by a competitive peer-reviewed grant from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (No. 253635).
The Pain Relief for Labour decision aid was developed using the Ottawa Decision Support Framework and systematic reviews of the evidence about the benefits and risks of the non-pharmacological and pharmacological methods of pain relief for labour. It comprises a workbook and worksheet and has been developed in two forms – with and without an audio-component (compact disc). The format allows women to take the decision aid home and discuss it with their partner.
PMCID: PMC539301  PMID: 15588303
8.  Development of a multidimensional labour satisfaction questionnaire: dimensions, validity, and internal reliability 
Quality in Health Care : QHC  2001;10(1):17-22.
Background—No published quantitative instrument exists to measure maternal satisfaction with the quality of different models of labour care in the UK.
Methods—A quantitative psychometric multidimensional maternal satisfaction questionnaire, the Women's Views of Birth Labour Satisfaction Questionnaire (WOMBLSQ), was developed using principal components analysis with varimax rotation of successive versions. Internal reliability and content and construct validity were assessed.
Results—Of 300 women sent the first version (WOMBLSQ1), 120 (40%) replied; of 300 sent WOMBLSQ2, 188 (62.7%) replied; of 500 women sent WOMBLSQ3, 319 (63.8%) replied; and of 2400 women sent WOMBLSQ4, 1683 (70.1%) replied. The latter two versions consisted of 10 dimensions in addition to general satisfaction. These were (Cronbach's alpha): professional support in labour (0.91), expectations of labour (0.90), home assessment in early labour (0.90), holding the baby (0.87), support from husband/partner (0.83), pain relief in labour (0.83), pain relief immediately after labour (0.65), knowing labour carers (0.82), labour environment (0.80), and control in labour (0.62). There were moderate correlations (range 0.16–0.73) between individual dimensions and the general satisfaction scale (0.75). Scores on individual dimensions were significantly related to a range of clinical and demographic variables.
Conclusion—This multidimensional labour satisfaction instrument has good validity and internal reliability. It could be used to assess care in labour across different models of maternity care, or as a prelude to in depth exploration of specific areas of concern. Its external reliability and transferability to care outside the South West region needs further evaluation, particularly in terms of ethnicity and social class.
Key Words: Women's Views of Birth Labour Satisfaction Questionnaire (WOMBLSQ); labour; questionnaire
PMCID: PMC1743424  PMID: 11239139
9.  Childbirth experience questionnaire (CEQ): development and evaluation of a multidimensional instrument 
Negative experiences of first childbirth increase risks for maternal postpartum depression and may negatively affect mothers' attitudes toward future pregnancies and choice of delivery method. Postpartum questionnaires assessing mothers' childbirth experiences are needed to aid in identifying mothers in need of support and counselling and in isolating areas of labour and birth management and care potentially in need of improvement. The aim of this study was to develop and evaluate a questionnaire for assessing different aspects of first-time mothers' childbirth experiences.
Childbirth domains were derived from literature searches, discussions with experienced midwives and interviews with first-time mothers. A draft version of the Childbirth Experience Questionnaire (CEQ) was pilot tested for face validity among 25 primiparous women. The revised questionnaire was mailed one month postpartum to 1177 primiparous women with a normal pregnancy and spontaneous onset of active labor and 920 returned evaluable questionnaires. Exploratory factor analysis using principal components analysis and promax rotation was performed to identify dimensions of the childbirth experience. Multitrait scaling analysis was performed to test scaling assumptions and reliability of scales. Discriminant validity was assessed by comparing scores from subgroups known to differ in childbirth experiences.
Factor analysis of the 22 item questionnaire yielded four factors accounting for 54% of the variance. The dimensions were labelled Own capacity, Professional support, Perceived safety, and Participation. Multitrait scaling analysis confirmed the fit of the four-dimensional model and scaling success was achieved in all four sub-scales. The questionnaire showed good sensitivity with dimensions discriminating well between groups hypothesized to differ in experience of childbirth.
The CEQ measures important dimensions of the first childbirth experience and may be used to measure different aspects of maternal satisfaction with labour and birth.
PMCID: PMC3008689  PMID: 21143961
10.  More in hope than expectation: a systematic review of women's expectations and experience of pain relief in labour 
BMC Medicine  2008;6:7.
Childbirth is one of the most painful events that a woman is likely to experience, the multi-dimensional aspect and intensity of which far exceeds disease conditions. A woman's lack of knowledge about the risks and benefits of the various methods of pain relief can heighten anxiety. Women are increasingly expected, and are expecting, to participate in decisions about their healthcare. Involvement should allow women to make better-informed decisions; the National Institute for Clinical Excellence has stated that we need effective ways of supporting pregnant women in making informed decisions during labour. Our aim was to systematically review the empirical literature on women's expectations and experiences of pain and pain relief during labour, as well as their involvement in the decision-making process.
A systematic review was conducted using the following databases: Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online (MEDLINE), Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Bath Information and Database Service (BIDS), Excerpta Medica Database Guide (EMBASE), Midwives Information and Resource (MIDIRS), Sociological Abstracts and PsychINFO. Studies that examined experience and expectations of pain, and its relief in labour, were appraised and the findings were integrated into a systematic review.
Appraisal revealed four key themes: the level and type of pain, pain relief, involvement in decision-making and control. Studies predominantly showed that women underestimated the pain they would experience. Women may hope for a labour free of pain relief, but many found that they needed or benefited from it. There is a distinction between women's desire for a drug-free labour and the expectation that they may need some sort of pain relief. Inaccurate or unrealistic expectations about pain may mean that women are not prepared appropriately for labour. Many women acknowledged that they wanted to participate in decision-making, but the degree of involvement varied. Women expected to take control in labour in a number of ways, but their degree of reported control was less than hoped for.
Women may have ideal hopes of what they would like to happen with respect to pain relief, control and engagement in decision-making, but experience is often very different from expectations. Antenatal educators need to ensure that pregnant women are appropriately prepared for what might actually happen to limit this expectation-experience gap and potentially support greater satisfaction with labour.
PMCID: PMC2358911  PMID: 18366632
11.  Treatment of severe fear of childbirth with haptotherapy: design of a multicenter randomized controlled trial 
About six percent of pregnant women suffer from severe fear of childbirth. These women are at increased risk of obstetric labour and delivery interventions and pre- and postpartum complications, e.g., preterm delivery, emergency caesarean section, caesarean section at maternal request, severe postpartum fear of childbirth and trauma anxiety. During the last decade, there is increasing clinical evidence suggesting that haptotherapy might be an effective intervention to reduce fear of childbirth in pregnant women. The present study has been designed to evaluate the effects of such intervention.
Included are singleton pregnant women with severe fear of childbirth, age ≥ 18 year, randomised into three arms: (1) treatment with haptotherapy, (2) internet psycho-education or (3) care as usual. The main study outcome is fear of childbirth. Measurements are taken at baseline in gestation week 20–24, directly after the intervention is completed in gestation week 36, six weeks postpartum and six months postpartum. Secondary study outcomes are distress, general anxiety, depression, somatization, social support, mother-child bonding, pregnancy and delivery complications, traumatic anxiety symptoms, duration of delivery, birth weight, and care satisfaction.
The treatment, a standard haptotherapeutical treatment for pregnant women with severe fear of childbirth, implies teaching a combination of skills in eight one hour sessions. The internet group follows an eight-week internet course containing information about pregnancy and childbirth comparable to childbirth classes. The control group has care as usual according to the standards of the Royal Dutch Organisation of Midwives and the Dutch Organization of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Trial registration
This trial was entered in the Dutch Trial Register and registered under number NTR3339 on March 4th, 2012.
PMCID: PMC4209021  PMID: 25293834
Pregnant women; Fear of childbirth; Haptotherapy; Treatment; Delivery; Anxiety; Well-being; Childbirth outcomes
12.  Effect of Educational Intervention on Self-efficacy for Choosing Delivery Method among Pregnant Women in 2013 
Nowadays, there has been a growing trend of caesarean sections in Iran. One reason would be the mother's desire. Increased maternal self-efficacy can be an important step to reduce percentage of cesarean. This study aimed to determine the effectiveness of training-based strategies to increase the self-efficacy for choosing delivery method among pregnant women in Shahrekord city.
This quasi-experimental study was conducted on 130 pregnant women who attended urban health centers in Shahrekord city in 2013. Intervention was applied in the experimental group in three sessions in about 60-90 min while control group did not receive any intervention. Fear of childbirth and self-efficacy questionnaire was completed before and after training.
While mean scores of the fear of childbirth, expectations and childbirth self-efficacy before the intervention between the two groups were not significantly different (P > 0.05), mean scores of childbirth in intervention group was reduced and expectation and childbirth self-efficacy had a significant increase after intervention (P < 0.05). In this study, 71.4% of mothers in intervention group and 53.8% of control mothers naturally delivered their children. Most of intervention group mothers desired to deliver through cesarean and had more fear (P < 0.001) but lower childbirth expectation (P > 0.05) and self-efficacy (P < 0.001) than those who chose normal method.
Our findings showed that training-based self-efficacy procedure has been effective in encouraging mothers to choose natural childbirth. Therefore, the design and implementation of curriculum-based strategies for increasing self-efficacy is suggested for pregnant women.
PMCID: PMC4223943  PMID: 25400882
Cesarean delivery; efficacy; elective cesarean; natural delivery
13.  Effects of natural childbirth preparation versus standard antenatal education on epidural rates, experience of childbirth and parental stress in mothers and fathers: a randomised controlled multicentre trial 
Bjog  2009;116(9):1167-1176.
To examine the effects of antenatal education focussing on natural childbirth preparation with psychoprophylactic training versus standard antenatal education on the use of epidural analgesia, experience of childbirth and parental stress in first-time mothers and fathers.
Randomised controlled multicentre trial.
Fifteen antenatal clinics in Sweden between January 2006 and May 2007.
A total of 1087 nulliparous women and 1064 of their partners.
Natural group: Antenatal education focussing on natural childbirth preparation with training in breathing and relaxation techniques (psychoprophylaxis). Standard care group: Standard antenatal education focussing on both childbirth and parenthood, without psychoprophylactic training. Both groups: Four 2-hour sessions in groups of 12 participants during third trimester of pregnancy and one follow-up after delivery.
Main outcome measures
Epidural analgesia during labour, experience of childbirth as measured by the Wijma Delivery Experience Questionnaire (B), and parental stress measured by the Swedish Parenthood Stress Questionnaire.
The epidural rate was 52% in both groups. There were no statistically significant differences in the experience of childbirth or parental stress between the randomised groups, either in women or men. Seventy percent of the women in the Natural group reported having used psychoprophylaxis during labour. A minority in the Standard care group (37%) had also used this method, but subgroup analysis where these women were excluded did not change the principal findings.
Natural childbirth preparation including training in breathing and relaxation did not decrease the use of epidural analgesia during labour, nor did it improve the birth experience or affect parental stress in early parenthood in nulliparous women and men, compared with a standard form of antenatal education.
PMCID: PMC2759981  PMID: 19538406
Antenatal education; childbirth experience; parenthood; pregnancy; psychoprophylaxis
14.  Outpatient versus inpatient induction of labour for improving birth outcomes 
More than 20% of women undergo induction of labour in some countries. The different methods used to induce labour have been the focus of previous reviews, but the setting in which induction takes place (hospital versus outpatient settings) may have implications for maternal satisfaction and costs. It is not known whether some methods of induction that are effective and safe in hospital are suitable in outpatient settings.
To assess the effects on outcomes for mothers and babies of induction of labour for women managed as outpatients versus inpatients.
Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group’s Trials Register (December 2008). We updated this search on 24 February 2012 and added the results to the awaiting classification section.
Selection criteria
Published and unpublished randomised and quasi-randomised trials in which inpatient and outpatient methods of cervical ripening or induction of labour have been compared.
Data collection and analysis
Two review authors independently assessed trial reports for inclusion. Two review authors carried out data extraction and assessment of risk of bias independently.
Main results
We included three trials, with a combined total of 612 women in the review; each examined a different method of induction and we were unable to pool the results from trials. Vaginal PGE2 (One study including 201 women). There were no differences between women managed as out- versus inpatients for most review outcomes. Women in the outpatient group were more likely to have instrumental deliveries (risk ratio (RR) 1.74; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.03 to 2.93). The overall length of hospital stay was similar in the two groups.Controlled release PGE2 10mg (one study including 300 women). There was no evidence of differences between groups for most review outcomes, including success of induction. During the induction period itself, women in the outpatient group were more likely to report high levels of satisfaction with their care (satisfaction rated seven or more on a nine-point scale RR 1.42; 95% CI 1.11 to 1.81), but satisfaction scores measured postnatally were similar in the two groups.Foley catheter (one study including 111 women). There was no evidence of differences between groups for caesarean section rates, total induction time and the numbers of babies admitted to neonatal intensive care.
Authors’ conclusions
The data available to evaluate the efficacy or potential hazards of outpatient induction are limited. It is, therefore, not yet possible to determine whether induction of labour is effective and safe in outpatient settings.
[Note: The four citations in the awaiting classification section of the review may alter the conclusions of the review once assessed.]
PMCID: PMC4127418  PMID: 19370687
*Cervical Ripening; *Hospitalization; Ambulatory Care [*methods]; Catheterization; Dinoprostone; Infant, Newborn; Labor, Induced [*methods]; Length of Stay; Oxytocics; Patient Satisfaction; Pregnancy Outcome; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Female; Humans; Pregnancy
15.  The association between attendance of midwives and workload of midwives with the mode of birth: secondary analyses in the German healthcare system 
The continuous rise in caesarean rates across most European countries raises multiple concerns. One factor in this development might be the type of care women receive during childbirth. ‘Supportive care during labour’ by midwives could be an important factor for reducing fear, tension and pain and decreasing caesarean rates. The presence and availability of midwives to support a woman in line with her needs are central aspects for ‘supportive care during labour’.
To date, there is no existing research on the influence of effective ‘supportive care’ by German midwives on the mode of birth. This study examines the association between the attendance and workload of midwives with the mode of birth outcomes in a population of low-risk women in a German multicentre sample.
The data are based on a prospective controlled multicentre trial (n = 1,238) in which the intervention ‘midwife-led care’ was introduced. Four German hospitals participated between 2007 and 2009.
Secondary analyses included a convenience sample of 999 low-risk women from the primary analyses who met the selection criterion ‘low-risk status’. Participation was voluntary. The association between the mode of birth and the key variables ‘attendance of midwives’ and ‘workload of midwives’ was assessed using backward logistic regression models.
The overall rate of spontaneous delivery was 80.7% (n = 763). The ‘attendance of midwives’ and the ‘workload of midwives’ did not exhibit a significant association with the mode of birth. However, women who were not satisfied with the presence of midwives (OR: 2.45, 95% CI 1.54-3.95) or who did not receive supportive procedures by midwives (OR: 3.01, 95% CI 1.50-6.05) were significantly more likely to experience operative delivery or a caesarean. Further explanatory variables include the type of hospital, participation in childbirth preparation class, length of stay from admission to birth, oxytocin usage and parity.
Satisfaction with the presence of and supportive procedures by midwives are associated with the mode of birth. The presence and behaviour of midwives should suit the woman’s expectations and fulfil her needs. For reasons of causality, we would recommend experimental or quasi-experimental research that would exceed the explorative character of this study.
PMCID: PMC4164747  PMID: 25178810
Midwife; Attendance; Workload; One-to-one; Supportive care; Intrapartum care; Continuity; Caesarean; Mode of birth; Operative delivery
16.  A prospective study of effects of psychological factors and sleep on obstetric interventions, mode of birth, and neonatal outcomes among low-risk British Columbian women 
Obstetrical interventions, including caesarean sections, are increasing in Canada. Canadian women’s psychological states, fatigue, and sleep have not been examined prospectively for contributions to obstetric interventions and adverse neonatal outcomes.
Context and purpose of the study: The prospective study was conducted in British Columbia (BC), Canada with 650 low-risk pregnant women. Of those women, 624 were included in this study. Women were recruited through providers’ offices, media, posters, and pregnancy fairs. We examined associations between pregnant women’s fatigue, sleep deprivation, and psychological states (anxiety and childbirth fear) and women’s exposure to obstetrical interventions and adverse neonatal outcomes (preterm, admission to NICU, low APGARS, and low birth weight).
Data from our cross-sectional survey were linked, using women’s personal health numbers, to birth outcomes from the Perinatal Services BC database. After stratifying for parity, we used Pearson’s Chi-square to examine associations between psychological states, fatigue, sleep deprivation and maternal characteristics. We used hierarchical logistic regression modeling to test 9 hypotheses comparing women with high and low childbirth fear and anxiety on likelihood of having epidural anaesthetic, a caesarean section (stratified for parity), assisted vaginal delivery, and adverse neonatal outcomes and women with and without sleep deprivation and high levels of fatigue on likelihood of giving birth by caesarean section, while controlling for maternal, obstetrical (e.g., infant macrosomia), and psychological variables.
Significantly higher proportions of multiparas, reporting difficult and upsetting labours and births, expectations of childbirth interventions, and health stressors, reported high levels of childbirth fear. Women who reported antenatal relationship, housing, financial, and health stressors and multiparas reporting low family incomes were significantly more likely to report high anxiety levels. The hypothesis that high childbirth fear significantly increased the risk of using epidural anaesthesia was supported.
Controlling for some psychological states and sleep quality while examining other contributors to outcomes decreases the likelihood of linking childbirth fear anxiety, sleep deprivation, and fatigue to increased odds of caesarean section. Ameliorating women’s childbirth fear to reduce their exposure to epidural anaesthesia can occur through developing effective interventions. These include helping multiparous women process previous experiences of difficult and upsetting labour and birth.
PMCID: PMC3449197  PMID: 22862846
Childbirth fear; Sleep deprivation; Fatigue; Anxiety; Obstetrical interventions; Neonatal outcomes
17.  Study protocol for reducing childbirth fear: a midwife-led psycho-education intervention 
Childbirth fear has received considerable attention in Scandinavian countries, and the United Kingdom, but not in Australia. For first-time mothers, fear is often linked to a perceived lack of control and disbelief in the body’s ability to give birth safely, whereas multiparous women may be fearful as a result of previous negative and/or traumatic birth experiences. There have been few well-designed intervention studies that test interventions to address women’s childbirth fear, support normal birth, and diminish the possibility of a negative birth experience.
Pregnant women in their second trimester of pregnancy will be recruited and screened from antenatal clinics in Queensland, Australia. Women reporting high childbirth fear will be randomly allocated to the intervention or control group. The psycho-educational intervention is offered by midwives over the telephone at 24 and 34 weeks of pregnancy. The intervention aims to review birth expectations, work through distressing elements of childbirth, discuss strategies to develop support networks, affirm that negative childbirth events can be managed and develop a birth plan. Women in the control group will receive standard care offered by the public funded maternity services in Australia. All women will receive an information booklet on childbirth choices. Data will be collected at recruitment during the second trimester, 36 weeks of pregnancy, and 4–6 weeks after birth.
This study aims to test the efficacy of a brief, midwife-led psycho-education counselling (known as BELIEF: Birth Emotions - Looking to Improve Expectant Fear) to reduce women’s childbirth fear. 1) Relative to controls, women receiving BELIEF will report lower levels of childbirth fear at term; 2) less decisional conflict; 3) less depressive symptoms; 4) better childbirth self-efficacy; and 5) improved health and obstetric outcomes.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Controlled Trials Registry ACTRN12612000526875.
PMCID: PMC3854500  PMID: 24139191
Pregnancy; Childbirth fear; Psycho-education; Midwife-led counselling; Randomised controlled trial; Postnatal depression; Decisional conflict; EQ-5D; Self-efficacy
18.  Uterine Rupture by Intended Mode of Delivery in the UK: A National Case-Control Study 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(3):e1001184.
A case-control study using UK data estimates the risk of uterine rupture in subsequent deliveries amongst women who have had a previous caesarean section.
Recent reports of the risk of morbidity due to uterine rupture are thought to have contributed in some countries to a decrease in the number of women attempting a vaginal birth after caesarean section. The aims of this study were to estimate the incidence of true uterine rupture in the UK and to investigate and quantify the associated risk factors and outcomes, on the basis of intended mode of delivery.
Methods and Findings
A UK national case-control study was undertaken between April 2009 and April 2010. The participants comprised 159 women with uterine rupture and 448 control women with a previous caesarean delivery. The estimated incidence of uterine rupture was 0.2 per 1,000 maternities overall; 2.1 and 0.3 per 1,000 maternities in women with a previous caesarean delivery planning vaginal or elective caesarean delivery, respectively. Amongst women with a previous caesarean delivery, odds of rupture were also increased in women who had ≥ two previous caesarean deliveries (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 3.02, 95% CI 1.16–7.85) and <12 months since their last caesarean delivery (aOR 3.12, 95% CI 1.62–6.02). A higher risk of rupture with labour induction and oxytocin use was apparent (aOR 3.92, 95% CI 1.00–15.33). Two women with uterine rupture died (case fatality 1.3%, 95% CI 0.2–4.5%). There were 18 perinatal deaths associated with uterine rupture among 145 infants (perinatal mortality 124 per 1,000 total births, 95% CI 75–189).
Although uterine rupture is associated with significant mortality and morbidity, even amongst women with a previous caesarean section planning a vaginal delivery, it is a rare occurrence. For women with a previous caesarean section, risk of uterine rupture increases with number of previous caesarean deliveries, a short interval since the last caesarean section, and labour induction and/or augmentation. These factors should be considered when counselling and managing the labour of women with a previous caesarean section.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Uterine rupture is a serious complication of pregnancy in which the wall of the uterus (womb) tears during pregnancy or early labor. Signs and symptoms of uterine rupture include fetal heart rate abnormalities, abdominal pain, and vaginal bleeding. If uterine rupture happens during labor, the woman must have an immediate caesarean section (surgical delivery of her baby) to save both her life and that of her baby. The woman's womb and nearby organs can be damaged at rupture or removed during surgery and she may need a blood transfusion because of severe bleeding. Moreover, her baby may develop respiratory distress syndrome and other life-threatening complications. In high income countries, uterine rupture most commonly occurs in women who have delivered a previous pregnancy by caesarean section. In a caesarean section, the baby is delivered through a cut made through the abdominal wall and the uterine wall. The stretching that occurs during pregnancy or the strong contractions of labor can tear the scar left by this cut, resulting in uterine rupture.
Why Was This Study Done?
Women who have had a caesarean delivery are generally encouraged to try to deliver subsequent babies vaginally. However, recent reports of an increased risk of complications (morbidity) and death (mortality) due to uterine rupture are thought to reduce women's willingness to attempt vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) in some countries. In the UK, for example, where one in four babies is delivered by caesarean section, a previous caesarean delivery is one of commonest reasons for a repeat section. Obstetricians (doctors who care for women during child birth) need to know as much as possible about the incidence of uterine rupture and about the risk factors for it so that they can advise women who have had a previous caesarean section about their delivery options. In this national case-control study (a study that compares the characteristics of people with and without a specific condition), the researchers estimate the incidence of uterine rupture in the UK by intended mode of delivery and investigate and quantify the risk factors for and outcomes of uterine rupture.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used the UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS) to identify all the women in the UK who had a uterine rupture over a 13-month period (159 women, 139 of whom had had a previous caesarean delivery). Controls for the study were women who had not had a uterine rupture but who had previously delivered by caesarean section. Overall, the incidence of uterine rupture was 0.2 per 1,000 maternities. In women with a previous caesarean delivery, 2.1 and 0.3 per 1,000 maternities ended in uterine rupture in women planning vaginal delivery and caesarean delivery, respectively. Amongst women who had had a previous caesarean delivery, the risk of uterine rupture was greater among those who had had two or more previous caesarean deliveries or a caesarean delivery less than 12 months previously, or whose labor was induced. Two women died following uterine rupture (a case fatality of 1.3%) and 18 babies died around the time of birth (a perinatal mortality rate of 124 per 1,000 live births; the UK perinatal mortality rate is 7.5 per 1,000 live births). 15 of the women who had a uterine rupture had their womb removed, 10 had other organs damaged, and nearly half had other complications; 19 of the surviving babies had health problems.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that, in the UK, although uterine rupture is associated with significant mortality and morbidity, it is a rare occurrence even among women who have had a previous caesarean delivery and are planning a vaginal delivery. They also indicate that, for women who have previously had a caesarean section, the risk of rupture increases with the number of previous caesarean deliveries, with a short interval since the last caesarean section, and with labor induction. Although the researchers may not have identified all the women who had a uterine rupture during the study period or may have identified only the worst cases, these findings provide valuable information about the factors that obstetricians need to consider when advising women who have previously had a caesarean section and when managing their labor.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
This study is linked to a PLoS Medicine Research Article by Caroline Crowther and a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Catherine Spong
Wikipedia has a page on uterine rupture (note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has information sheets for patients on caesarean sections and on vaginal birth after caesarean delivery
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the UK has information for women on birth after previous caesarean
Childbirth Connection, a US-based not-for-profit organization, provides information about caesarean sections and about vaginal birth after caesarean
The National Childbirth Trust, a UK charity, provides information for parents on all aspects of pregnancy and birth, including caesarean sections and vaginal birth after caesarean delivery
The UK charity Healthtalkonline has personal stories from women making decisions about birth after a caesarean section
A personal story of uterine rupture during an attempted VBAC is available
The UK Obstetric Surveillance System studies rare disorders of pregnancy in the UK
PMCID: PMC3302846  PMID: 22427745
19.  Psychometric properties of the Swedish childbirth self-efficacy inventory (Swe-CBSEI) 
Previous research has reported that women who are admitted to delivery wards in early labour process before an active stage of labour has started run an increased risk of instrumental deliveries. Therefore, it is essential to focus on factors such as self-efficacy that can enhance a woman’s own ability to cope with the first stage of labour. However, there was no Swedish instrument measuring childbirth self-efficacy available. Thus, the aim of the study was to translate the Childbirth Self-efficacy Inventory and to psychometrically test the Swedish version on first- time mothers within the Swedish culture.
The method included a forward-backward translation with face and content validity. The psychometric properties were evaluated using a Principal Component Analysis and by using Cronbach’s alpha coefficient and inter-item correlations. Descriptive statistics and non-parametric tests were used to describe and compare the scales. All data were collected from January 2011 to June 2012, from 406 pregnant women during the gestational week 35-42.
The Swedish version of the Childbirth Self-Efficacy Inventory indicated good reliability and the Principal Component Analysis showed a three-component structure. The Wilcoxon Signed-Ranks Test indicated that the women could differentiate between the concepts outcome expectancy and self-efficacy expectatancy and between the two labour stages, active stage and the second stage of labour.
The Swedish version of Childbirth Self-efficacy Inventory is a reliable and valid instrument. The inventory can act as a tool to identify those women who need extra support and to evaluate the efforts of improving women’s self-efficacy during pregnancy.
PMCID: PMC3893383  PMID: 24383788
Childbirth; Self-efficacy; Instrument development; Psychometric properties; Principal component analysis; Think aloud; Midwifery
20.  Quality of midwifery led care: assessing the effects of different models of continuity for women's satisfaction 
Quality in Health Care : QHC  1998;7(2):77-82.
BACKGROUND: Changing Childbirth (1993), a report on the future of maternity services in the United Kingdom, endorsed the development of a primarily community based midwifery led service for normal pregnancy, with priority given to the provision of "woman centred care". This has led to the development of local schemes emphasising continuity of midwifery care and increased choice and control for women. AIMS: To compare two models of midwifery group practices (shared caseload and personal caseload) in terms of: (a) the extent to which women see the same midwife antenatally and know the delivery midwife, and (b) women's preference for continuity and satisfaction with their care. METHODS: A review of maternity case notes and survey of a cohort of women at 36 weeks of gestation and 2 weeks postpartum who attended the two midwifery group practices. Questionnaires were completed by 247 women antenatally (72% response) and 222 (68%) postnatally. Outcome measures were the level of continuity experienced during antenatal, intrapartum, and postnatal care, women's preferences for continuity of carer, and ratings of satisfaction with care. RESULTS: The higher level of antenatal continuity of carer with personal caseload midwifery was associated with a lower percentage having previously met their main delivery midwife (60% v 74%). Women's preferences for antenatal continuity were significantly associated with their experiences. Postnatal rating of knowing the delivery midwife as "very important indeed" was associated with both previous antenatal ratings of its importance, and women's actual experiences. Personal continuity of carer was not a clear predictor of women's satisfaction with care. Of greater importance were women's expectations, their relations with midwives, communication, and involvement in decision making. CONCLUSIONS: Midwifery led schemes based on both shared and personal caseloads are acceptable to women. More important determinants of quality and women's satisfaction are the ethos of care consistency of care, good communication, and participation in decisions.
PMCID: PMC2483588  PMID: 10180794
21.  Alternative Strategies to Reduce Maternal Mortality in India: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(4):e1000264.
A cost-effectiveness study by Sue Goldie and colleagues finds that better family planning, provision of safe abortion, and improved intrapartum and emergency obstetrical care could reduce maternal mortality in India by 75% in 5 years.
Approximately one-quarter of all pregnancy- and delivery-related maternal deaths worldwide occur in India. Taking into account the costs, feasibility, and operational complexity of alternative interventions, we estimate the clinical and population-level benefits associated with strategies to improve the safety of pregnancy and childbirth in India.
Methods and Findings
Country- and region-specific data were synthesized using a computer-based model that simulates the natural history of pregnancy (both planned and unintended) and pregnancy- and childbirth-associated complications in individual women; and considers delivery location, attendant, and facility level. Model outcomes included clinical events, population measures, costs, and cost-effectiveness ratios. Separate models were adapted to urban and rural India using survey-based data (e.g., unmet need for birth spacing/limiting, facility births, skilled birth attendants). Model validation compared projected maternal indicators with empiric data. Strategies consisted of improving coverage of effective interventions that could be provided individually or packaged as integrated services, could reduce the incidence of a complication or its case fatality rate, and could include improved logistics such as reliable transport to an appropriate referral facility as well as recognition of referral need and quality of care. Increasing family planning was the most effective individual intervention to reduce pregnancy-related mortality. If over the next 5 y the unmet need for spacing and limiting births was met, more than 150,000 maternal deaths would be prevented; more than US$1 billion saved; and at least one of every two abortion-related deaths averted. Still, reductions in maternal mortality reached a threshold (∼23%–35%) without including strategies that ensured reliable access to intrapartum and emergency obstetrical care (EmOC). An integrated and stepwise approach was identified that would ultimately prevent four of five maternal deaths; this approach coupled stepwise improvements in family planning and safe abortion with consecutively implemented strategies that incrementally increased skilled attendants, improved antenatal/postpartum care, shifted births away from home, and improved recognition of referral need, transport, and availability/quality of EmOC. The strategies in this approach ranged from being cost-saving to having incremental cost-effectiveness ratios less than US$500 per year of life saved (YLS), well below India's per capita gross domestic product (GDP), a common benchmark for cost-effectiveness.
Early intensive efforts to improve family planning and control of fertility choices and to provide safe abortion, accompanied by a paced systematic and stepwise effort to scale up capacity for integrated maternal health services over several years, is as cost-effective as childhood immunization or treatment of malaria, tuberculosis, or HIV. In just 5 y, more than 150,000 maternal deaths would be averted through increasing contraception rates to meet women's needs for spacing and limiting births; nearly US$1.5 billion would be saved by coupling safe abortion to aggressive family planning efforts; and with stepwise investments to improve access to pregnancy-related health services and to high-quality facility-based intrapartum care, more than 75% of maternal deaths could be prevented. If accomplished over the next decade, the lives of more than one million women would be saved.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Every year, more than half a million women—most of them living in developing countries—die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related complications. About a quarter of these “maternal” deaths occur in India. In 2005, a woman's lifetime risk of maternal death in India was 1 in 70; in the UK, it was only one in 8,200. Similarly, the maternal mortality ratio (MMR; number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births) in India was 450, whereas in the UK it was eight. Faced with the enormous maternal death toll in India and other developing countries, in September 2000, the United Nations pledged, as its fifth Millennium Development Goal (MDG 5), that the global MMR would be reduced to a quarter of its 1990 level by 2015. Currently, it seems unlikely that this target will be met. Between 1990 and 2005, global maternal deaths decreased by only 1% per annum instead of the 5% needed to reach MDG 5; in India, the decrease in maternal deaths between 1990 and 2005 was about 1.8% per annum.
Why Was This Study Done?
Most maternal deaths in developing countries are caused by severe bleeding after childbirth, infections soon after delivery, blood pressure disorders during pregnancy, and obstructed (difficult) labors. Consequently, experts agree that universal access to high-quality routine care during labor (“obstetric” care) and to emergency obstetrical care is needed to reduce maternal deaths. However, there is less agreement about how to adapt these “ideal recommendations” to specific situations. In developing countries with weak health systems and predominantly rural populations, it is unlikely that all women will have access to emergency obstetric care in the near future—so would beginning with improved access to family planning and to safe abortions (unsafe abortion is another major cause of maternal death) be a more achievable, more cost-effective way of reducing maternal deaths? How would family planning and safe abortion be coupled efficiently and cost-effectively with improved access to intrapartum care? In this study, the researchers investigate these questions by estimating the health and economic outcomes of various strategies to reduce maternal mortality in India.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used a computer-based model that simulates women through pregnancy and childbirth to estimate the effect of different strategies (for example, increased family planning or increased access to obstetric care) on clinical outcomes (pregnancies, live births, or deaths), costs, and cost-effectiveness (the cost of saving one year of life) in India. Increased family planning was the most effective single intervention for the reduction of pregnancy-related mortality. If the current unmet need for family planning in India could be fulfilled over the next 5 years, more than 150,000 maternal deaths would be prevented, more than US$1 billion saved, and at least half of abortion-related deaths averted. However, increased family planning alone would reduce maternal deaths by 35% at most, so the researchers also used their model to test the effect of combinations of strategies on maternal death. They found that an integrated and stepwise approach (increased family planning and safe abortion combined with consecutively increased skilled birth attendants, improved care before and after birth, reduced home births, and improved emergency obstetric care) could eventually prevent nearly 80% of maternal deaths. All the steps in this strategy either saved money or involved an additional cost per year of life saved of less than US$500; given one suggested threshold for cost-effectiveness in India of the per capita GDP (US$1,068) per year of life saved, these strategies would be considered very cost-effective.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The accuracy of these findings depends on the assumptions used to build the model and the quality of the data fed into it. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that early intensive efforts to improve family planning and to provide safe abortion accompanied by a systematic, stepwise effort to improve integrated maternal health services could reduce maternal deaths in India by more than 75% in less than a decade. Furthermore, such a strategy would be cost-effective. Indeed, note the researchers, the cost savings from an initial focus on family planning and safe abortion provision would partly offset the resources needed to assure that every woman had access to high quality routine and emergency obstetric care. Thus, overall, these findings suggest that MDG 5 may be within reach in India, a conclusion that should help to mobilize political support for this worthy goal.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
UNICEF (the United Nations Children's Fund) provides information on maternal mortality, including the WHO/UNICEF/UNFPA/The World Bank 2005 country estimates of maternal mortality
The World Health Organization also provides information on maternal health and about MDG 5 (in several languages)
The United Nations Millennium Development Goals Web site provides detailed information about the Millennium Declaration, the MDGs, their targets and their indicators, and about MDG 5.
The Millennium Development Goals Report 2009 and its progress chart provide an up-to-date assessment of progress toward all the MDGs
Computer simulation modeling as applied to health is further discussed at the Center for Health Decision Science at Harvard University
PMCID: PMC2857650  PMID: 20421922
22.  Hypnosis Antenatal Training for Childbirth (HATCh): a randomised controlled trial [NCT00282204] 
Although medical interventions play an important role in preserving lives and maternal comfort they have become increasingly routine in normal childbirth. This may increase the risk of associated complications and a less satisfactory birth experience. Antenatal hypnosis is associated with a reduced need for pharmacological interventions during childbirth. This trial seeks to determine the efficacy or otherwise of antenatal group hypnosis preparation for childbirth in late pregnancy.
A single centre, randomised controlled trial using a 3 arm parallel group design in the largest tertiary maternity unit in South Australia. Group 1 participants receive antenatal hypnosis training in preparation for childbirth administered by a qualified hypnotherapist with the use of an audio compact disc on hypnosis for re-enforcement; Group 2 consists of antenatal hypnosis training in preparation for childbirth using an audio compact disc on hypnosis administered by a nurse with no training in hypnotherapy; Group 3 participants continue with their usual preparation for childbirth with no additional intervention. Women > 34 and < 39 weeks gestation, planning a vaginal birth, not in active labour, with a singleton, viable fetus of vertex presentation, are eligible to participate. Allocation concealment is achieved using telephone randomisation. Participants assigned to hypnosis groups commence hypnosis training as near as possible to 37 weeks gestation. Treatment allocations are concealed from treating obstetricians, anaesthetists, midwives and those personnel collecting and analysing data. Our sample size of 135 women/group gives the study 80% power to detect a clinically relevant fall of 20% in the number of women requiring pharmacological analgesia – the primary endpoint. We estimate that approximately 5–10% of women will deliver prior to receiving their allocated intervention. We plan to recruit 150 women/group and perform sequential interim analyses when 150 and 300 participants have been recruited. All participant data will be analysed, by a researcher blinded to treatment allocation, according to the "Intention to treat" principle with comprehensive pre-planned cost- benefit and subgroup analyses.
If effective, hypnosis would be a simple, inexpensive way to improve the childbirth experience, reduce complications associated with pharmacological interventions, yield cost savings in maternity care, and this trial will provide evidence to guide clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC1450315  PMID: 16515709
23.  Cultural Adaptation and Psychometric Testing of the Short Form of Iranian Childbirth Self Efficacy Inventory 
To assess maternal confidence in her ability to cope with labor, a measure of childbirth self efficacy is necessary.
This paper aims to assess the cultural adaptation and psychometric testing of the short form of childbirth self-efficacy Inventory among Iranian pregnant women.
Patients and Methods:
In this descriptive-methodological study, we investigated 383 Iranian pregnant women in the third trimester. They were recruited from the outpatient prenatal care clinic of Taleghani Hospital and an urban health center from August to November 2011. Content validity was evaluated by a panel of specialists after adding two religious items. The women completed the inventory and the demographic characteristics questionnaire in an interview room. The internal consistency and construct validity were assessed by Cronbach’s alpha and by exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, respectively. Known group analysis on gravity assessed the discriminant validity of the measure.
Content validity of the short form of the Iranian childbirth self-efficacy Inventory was confirmed. Factor analyses supported the conceptual two-factor structure of measure and hence supported its construct validity. The internal consistency was approved for the total scale and both subscales. The instrument differentiated prim gravid from multigravida women in the total scale and the efficacy expectancy subscale.
Validity and reliability of the measure supports the use of the short form of the instrument as a clinical and research instrument in measuring childbirth self-efficacy among Iranian pregnant women.
PMCID: PMC3971774  PMID: 24719682
Childbirth; Self-Efficacy; Pregnancy; Psychometric Testing
24.  The Effectiveness of Emergency Obstetric Referral Interventions in Developing Country Settings: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(7):e1001264.
In a systematic review of the literature, Julia Hussein and colleagues seek to determine the effect of referral interventions that enable emergency access to health facilities for pregnant women living in developing countries.
Pregnancy complications can be unpredictable and many women in developing countries cannot access health facilities where life-saving care is available. This study assesses the effects of referral interventions that enable pregnant women to reach health facilities during an emergency, after the decision to seek care is made.
Methods and findings
Selected bibliographic databases were searched with no date or language restrictions. Randomised controlled trials and quasi experimental study designs with a comparison group were included. Outcomes of interest included maternal and neonatal mortality and other intermediate measures such as service utilisation. Two reviewers independently selected, appraised, and extracted articles using predefined fields. Forest plots, tables, and qualitative summaries of study quality, size, and direction of effect were used for analysis.
Nineteen studies were included. In South Asian settings, four studies of organisational interventions in communities that generated funds for transport reduced neonatal deaths, with the largest effect seen in India (odds ratio 0·48 95% CI 0·34–0·68). Three quasi experimental studies from sub-Saharan Africa reported reductions in stillbirths with maternity waiting home interventions, with one statistically significant result (OR 0.56 95% CI 0.32–0.96). Effects of interventions on maternal mortality were unclear. Referral interventions usually improved utilisation of health services but the opposite effect was also documented. The effects of multiple interventions in the studies could not be disentangled. Explanatory mechanisms through which the interventions worked could not be ascertained.
Community mobilisation interventions may reduce neonatal mortality but the contribution of referral components cannot be ascertained. The reduction in stillbirth rates resulting from maternity waiting homes needs further study. Referral interventions can have unexpected adverse effects. To inform the implementation of effective referral interventions, improved monitoring and evaluation practices are necessary, along with studies that develop better understanding of how interventions work.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Every year, about 350,000 women die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related complications. Almost all of these “maternal” deaths occur in developing countries. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, the maternal mortality ratio (MMR, the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births) is 500 and a woman's life-time risk of dying from complications of pregnancy or childbirth is 1 in 39. By contrast, the MMR in industrialized countries is 12 and women have a life-time risk of maternal death of 1 in 4,700. Most maternal deaths are caused by hemorrhage (severe bleeding after childbirth), post-delivery infections, obstructed (difficult) labor, and blood pressure disorders during pregnancy, all of which are preventable or treatable conditions. Unfortunately, it is hard to predict which women will develop pregnancy complications, many complications rapidly become life-threatening and, in developing countries, women often deliver at home, far from emergency obstetric services; obstetrics deals with the care of women and their children during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postnatal period.
Why Was This Study Done?
It should be possible to reduce maternal deaths (and the deaths of babies during pregnancy, childbirth, and early life) in developing countries by ensuring that pregnant women are referred to emergency obstetric services quickly when the need arises. Unfortunately, in such countries referral to emergency obstetric care is beset with problems such as difficult geographical terrain, transport costs, lack of vehicles, and suboptimal location and distribution of health care facilities. In this systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic), the researchers assess the effectiveness of interventions designed to reduce the “phase II delay” in referral to emergency obstetric care in developing countries—the time it takes a woman to reach an appropriate health care facility once a problem has been recognized and the decision has been taken to seek care. Delays in diagnosis and the decision to seek care are phase I delays in referral, whereas delays in receiving care once a women reaches a health care facility are phase III delays.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 19 published studies that described 14 interventions designed to overcome phase II delays in emergency obstetric referral and that met their criteria for inclusion in their systematic review. About half of the interventions were organizational. That is, they were designed to overcome barriers to referral such as costs. Most of the remaining interventions were structural. That is, they involved the provision of, for example, ambulances and maternity waiting homes—placed close to a health care facility where women can stay during late pregnancy. Although seven studies provided data on maternal mortality, none showed a sustained, statistically significant reduction (a reduction unlikely to have occurred by chance) in maternal deaths. Four studies in South Asia in which communities generated funds for transport reduced neonatal deaths (deaths of babies soon after birth), but the only statistically significant effect of this community mobilization intervention was seen in India where neonatal deaths were halved. Three studies from sub-Saharan Africa reported that the introduction of maternity waiting homes reduced stillbirths but this reduction was only significant in one study. Finally, although referral interventions generally improved the utilization of health services, in one study the provision of bicycle ambulances to take women to the hospital reduced the proportion of women delivering in health facilities, probably because women felt that bicycle ambulances drew unwanted attention to them during labor and so preferred to stay at home.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that community mobilization interventions may reduce neonatal mortality and that maternity waiting rooms may reduce stillbirths. Importantly, they also highlight how referral interventions can have unexpected adverse effects. However, because the studies included in this systematic review included multiple interventions designed to reduce delays at several stages of the referral process, it is not possible to disentangle the contribution of each component of the intervention. Moreover, it is impossible at present to determine why (or even if) any of the interventions reduced maternal mortality. Thus, the researchers conclude, improved monitoring of interventions and better evaluation of outcomes is essential to inform the implementation of effective referral interventions, and more studies are needed to improve understanding of how referral interventions work.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) provides information on maternal mortality, including the WHO/UNICEF./UNFPA/World Bank 2008 country estimates of maternal mortality
The World Health Organization provides information on maternal health, including information about Millennium Development Goal 5, which aims to reduce maternal mortality (in several languages); the Millennium Development Goals, which were agreed by world leaders in 2000, are designed to eradicate extreme poverty worldwide by 2015
Immpact is a global research initiative for the evaluation of safe motherhood intervention strategies
Veil of Tears contains personal stories from Afghanistan about loss in childbirth; the non-governmental health development organization AMREF provides personal stories about maternal health in Africa
Maternal Death: The Avoidable Crisis is a briefing paper published by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in March 2012
PMCID: PMC3393680  PMID: 22807658
25.  Male involvement during pregnancy and childbirth: men’s perceptions, practices and experiences during the care for women who developed childbirth complications in Mulago Hospital, Uganda 
Development of appropriate interventions to increase male involvement in pregnancy and childbirth is vital to strategies for improving health outcomes of women with obstetric complications. The objective was to gain a deeper understanding of their experiences of male involvement in their partners’ healthcare during pregnancy and childbirth. The findings might inform interventions for increasing men’s involvement in reproductive health issues.
We conducted 16 in-depth interviews with men who came to the hospital to attend to their spouses/partners admitted to Mulago National Referral Hospital. All the spouses/partners had developed severe obstetric complications and were admitted in the high dependency unit. We sought to obtain detailed descriptions of men’s experiences, their perception of an ideal “father” and the challenges in achieving this ideal status. We also assessed perceived strategies for increasing male participation in their partners’ healthcare during pregnancy and childbirth. Data was analyzed by content analysis.
The identified themes were: Men have different descriptions of their relationships; responsibility was an obligation; ideal fathers provide support to mothers during childbirth; the health system limits male involvement in childbirth; men have no clear roles during childbirth, and exclusion and alienation in the hospital environment. The men described qualities of the ideal father as one who was available, easily reached, accessible and considerate. Most men were willing to learn about their expected roles during childbirth and were eager to support their partners/wives/spouses during this time. However, they identified personal, relationship, family and community factors as barriers to their involvement. They found the health system unwelcoming, intimidating and unsupportive. Suggestions to improve men’s involvement include creating more awareness for fathers, male-targeted antenatal education and support, and changing provider attitudes.
This study generates information on perceived roles, expectations, experiences and challenges faced by men who wish to be involved in maternal health issues, particularly during pregnancy and childbirth. There is discord between the policy and practice on male involvement in pregnancy and childbirth. Health system factors that are critical to promoting male involvement in women’s health issues during pregnancy and childbirth need to be addressed.
PMCID: PMC3916059  PMID: 24479421

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