Global Perspectives of Childbirth Fear Including the Relevant Evidence

  • Helen Haines


This chapter examines the universality of fear of birth across societies and cultures. It highlights that multiple cultures exist within a country with concomitant multiplicity in the origin and content of a woman’s fear. The level of resourcing available to the health system and the people who work within it can lead to some fears such as fear of death or disability being more likely for women in low income countries than for women in high income countries. While for some women the possibility of choosing significant interventions such as caesarean is a way to deal with their fear of birth, for others the fear of too much technology and intervention conversely is a key driver for choosing alternatives to the dominant medicalised birthing context. The importance of traditional cultural practices surrounding birth remains for many women. As modernity imposes new practices upon them a fear of losing key rites of passage and connection is an important fear. The significance of kind, compassionate care from trusted caregivers no matter what cultural or social setting the woman is in remains paramount to working with all women and especially those who are highly fearful.


Culture Norms Society Systems of care 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen Haines
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Rural HealthUniversity of MelbourneSheppartonAustralia

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