UPEI researcher studying fear of childbirth

A UPEI professor is asking Island women to share their stories about the fear of childbirth. Janet Bryanton, with the UPEI School of Nursing has done much research on childbirth over the years.

Professor says some women suffer greatly from fear leading up to birth

UPEI professor Janet Bryanton says fear of childbirth leads many women to choose a C-section, to keep some kind of control. (The Canadian Press)

A UPEI professor is asking Island women to share their stories about the fear of childbirth.

Janet Bryanton, with the UPEI School of Nursing has done much research on childbirth over the years.

She says P.E.I.'s total cesarean birth rate in 2011 was 28.5%, while the World Health Organization says the rate should be only about 15%.

Some of the women are suffering a very great deal because of the fear.- Janet Bryanton, UPEI professor

​Bryanton says many women are afraid of childbirth, so they choose to have some control by having a planned cesarean birth.

She is trying to get to the root of where that fear comes from.

P.E.I.'s C-section rate is 28.5%, far above the WHO-recommended 15%. (Andrew Shurtleff/Associated Press)
"I think most women have some fear, you know, what will labour be like, the pain that's involved, loss of control," said Bryanton. "There's some women who actually fear childbirth who have never had a baby, and that may be because of what they've heard in the media, what they've heard from other women. But most women, it's related to a previous birth that they've had."

"Some of the women are suffering a very great deal because of the fear and what surrounds it," she said.

Bryanton is conducting a research study over the next several months by anonymously interviewing a small group of women about their experiences.

She says she hopes it will influence medical professionals by raising awareness about childbirth fear, and create more support for women before and after the experience.

Anyone interested in participating in the study can email Bryanton at jbryanton@upei.ca.

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