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Background: Assessing the influence of fear during pregnancy, labour, and delivery on birth outcomes among women is very important. Normally, women experience happiness during pregnancy, but some may develop fear which may cause maternal and neonatal complications. The aim of this study was to determine the influence of fear during pregnancy, labour and delivery on birth outcome among post-delivery women in Zanzibar.
Methodology: This was a matched case-control study involving 204 post-delivery women who were randomly selected from 4 hospitals in Zanzibar. Cases (n=68) were those who experienced a negative birth outcome, whether maternal, fetal, or both. The control group (n=136) had normal birth outcomes. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data and was analyzed using SPSS whereby percentages, chi-square test, and odds ratio results were reported.
Results: Among cases, 27(39.7%) had high level of fear during pregnancy compared to the control group, 75(40.4%). During labour, 29(42.6%) of cases had high level of fear, and in control, 55(42.4%). And during delivery 35(51.4%) of cases had highest level of fear, while only 47(34.5%) of control had high level of fear. The chi-square test showed only fear during delivery was significantly associated with undesirable birth outcomes. Women who experienced a high level of fear during delivery were 2 times more likely to have undesirable birth outcomes (AOR=1.941, p=.051) after adjusting for other variables.
Conclusion: This study established that most women experience high level of fear during pregnancy, labour and delivery. A high level of fear during delivery is associated with having negative birth outcomes, but not during pregnancy and labour. The findings are of clinical importance as they highlight the need to integrate a universal screening intervention into antenatal care services for early management.