UCSC-SOE-10-34: How We Prepare: Childbirth preparation methods and their effects on satisfaction and labor outcome

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Alexandra Holloway, Sri Kurniawan
11/18/2010 09:00 AM
Computer Engineering
What is the best way for first-time parents to prepare for childbirth? Overwhelmingly, women and their partners value formal childbirth education classes, books, and the emerging Internet- based resources. Do these sources meet the needs of first-time parents? We conducted an online survey of 120 participants. We found that participants that had nobody present for continuous support during labor were also unlikely to prepare for childbirth using any method. Participants that had a spouse present for support during labor were five times more likely to use pharmacological methods of pain relief. Having a midwife is grossly underrated. A small fraction of participants would recommend talking to a midwife to prepare for childbirth, yet women with a midwife are much more likely to be satisfied with their births, less likely to use drugs in labor, and more likely to use natural methods of pain relief. Preparation by childbirth class was associated with higher feelings of preparedness. Participants that prepared by talking to their doctor were more likely to have an instrumental birth. Finally, we found that women and their partners possess enough information about breastfeeding to breastfeed successfully; a lack of education is not a reason women choose against breastfeeding.