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Fear Of Labor Study Finds Women Who Are Afraid To Give Birth Take Longer To Deliver

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Fear of labor occurs in 7.5 percent of women, and may contribute to longer labor, according to a new study.
Fear of labor occurs in 7.5 percent of women, and may contribute to longer labor, according to a new study.

Women who are afraid to give birth are more likely to be in labor longer than moms who are fearless, a new study suggests.

Naturally, one wonders, who isn't a little afraid of pushing a baby out?

According to researchers in Norway, only 7.5 percent of moms who participated in their 2006 study were actually phobic about giving birth.

The study, published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, says that those women -- the ones who are clinically afraid -- spend about an hour and a half longer in labor than their more zen peers (8 hours compared to 6 hours and 28 minutes).

The authors named factors such as young age, pre-existing psychological problems, lack of social support and a history of abuse as factors that contribute to fear of labor. The researchers also suggested that anxiety and fear could increase levels of stress hormones, which are associated with weaker contractions, though their theory is yet to be proven.

Lead author Dr. Samantha Salvesen Adams said in a release that 89 percent of women who were classified as “afraid” of labor still managed to delivery vaginally, even though "longer labor duration increases the risk of instrumental vaginal delivery and emergency caesarean section," she said. "However, it is important to note that a large proportion of women with a fear of childbirth successfully had a vaginal delivery and therefore elective Cesarean delivery should not be routinely recommended."

Rosie Pope, star of “Pregnant in Heels,” isn’t surprised by how brave moms turn out to be in the delivery room. “No matter how afraid you are ... when you go into labor, something kicks in. You know instinctively what you have to do,” she told Today Moms. The mom of three, who recently live-tweeted her own labor, will be addressing the topic of fear on upcoming episodes of her show, Today reports.

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