Wednesday, January 11, 2012

First-time moms' unrealistic views about having uncomplicated births

An Australian report by Evelyn Yamine in the Daily Telegraph discusses a new study showing an increased risk of post-natal depression in first-time mothers with "unrealistic views about having uncomplicated births".

This does not surprise me in the least, and I think that women are often not being helped in forming realistic expectations during their antenatal care.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to locate the study just now, nor indeed email or twitter contact for Ms. Yamine, but in the report above, she writes:

"The survey of 195 expectant mothers revealed they believe there is a 56.2 per cent chance of an uncomplicated birth, which means a baby being born without the use of forceps, suction cups, caesarean section or induced labour.

Pain relief is considered part of an uncomplicated birth.

The figure is more than double that of Victorian data, which shows the chance of having a medically uncomplicated birth is 21 per cent.

A further 30.7 per cent said they believed women would have uncomplicated births without needing sutures. The actual figure is 8 per cent.

"We believe that many women and their carers have overly optimistic views," the report states.

"In this study, we have found that pregnant women, staff and students all overestimate the chance of first time mothers having an uncomplicated labour and delivery.

"The finding is important because unrealistic expectations of the likelihood of intervention may lead to increased feelings of distress in the postpartum period."

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