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Abstract Objective: To explore how childbirth self-efficacy, i.e. outcome expectancy and efficacy expectancy, was associated with fear of childbirth (FOC) and how efficacy expectancy and FOC, respectively were related to socio-demographic characteristics, mental problems and preference for a caesarean section. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, a consecutive sample of 1000 pregnant nulliparous women was sent the Wijma Delivery Expectancy Questionnaire and Childbirth Self-Efficacy Inventory. Statistical analyses were performed on data from 423 women. Results: Outcome expectancy and efficacy expectancy correlated significantly and positively, FOC correlated significantly and negatively with both outcome expectancy and efficacy expectancy. Women with severe FOC (20.8%) had a significantly lower level of education (p = 0.001), and had more often sought help because of mental problems (p = 0.004). They were more likely to have low-efficacy expectancy (p < 0.001) and to prefer a caesarean section instead of a vaginal birth (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Lower efficacy expectancy was associated with higher FOC while preference for a caesarean section was not. Improvement of self-efficacy could be a part of care for women with FOC during pregnancy; however, it would not be enough for fearful women who wish to have a caesarean section.


Birgitta Salomonsson, Mats T Gullberg, Siw Alehagen, Klaas Wijma. Self-efficacy beliefs and fear of childbirth in nulliparous women. Journal of psychosomatic obstetrics and gynaecology. 2013 Sep;34(3):116-21

PMID: 23952169

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