New mothers, especially first-time mothers, may feel fearful and uncertain about their coming birth experience. They also experience fatigue, sleep deprivation and anxiety during pregnancy. In consultation with over 600 women, Wendy’s research influenced the ‘Power to Push’ website www.powertopush.ca which provides sound advice and good resources for pregnant women. The research was also shared across the province to provide information about effects of fear, anxiety, sleep deprivation, and fatigue on obstetrical health outcomes for mothers and their babies, and improve services to them.
Read about Wendy’s research in her own words…
“The study was entitled Levels of childbirth fear, anxiety, fatigue, and sleep deprivation in a BC cohort of pregnant women. The funding resulted in a large sample of women (650) who provided data about their experiences.
Through my work with the Collaboration for Maternal and Newborn Health, I was able to use the results to influence the development of the Power to Push Initiative from BC Women’s Hospital. We had a website for the project and put our findings on the website after conducting some qualitative interviews and developing a quantitative survey (separate funding from UBC SON) to determine what women were interested in knowing from our results. We wrote a paper about direct knowledge translation to women. I also obtained funding through a Hampton research grant to link my original data about childbirth fear, anxiety, and sleep deprivation to BC Perinatal Services data to examine obstetrical outcomes.
I supervised a PhD student who used an existing online survey from UBC university students about childbirth to develop a childbirth fear scale from the items. We undertook extensive analysis using the scale, as well as some written comments provided by students. I have also supervised a master’s student who interviewed women about childbirth fear and we are just completing that thesis. I anticipate she will publish the findings.
My former PhD student and I have been successful with universities in Australia, the UK, and Canada agreeing to survey their students about childbirth fear using an improved version of the original survey for her PhD work. My former PhD student, who is now a postdoc, also plans to submit a grant for an intervention to reduce childbirth fear in secondary and postsecondary students, thereby influencing the next generation of maternity care consumers.”