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Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare;5(3)
Objectives: This study set out to compare the prevalence, content and associated factors of fear of child- birth in six European countries. Method: A cross-sectional study of 6870 pregnant women attending routine antenatal care in B elgium, I celand, D enmark, E stonia, N orway and S weden (Bidens).Main outcome measure: Severe fear of child- birth, defined as a Wijma Delivery Expectancy Questionnaire score of ≥ 85. Results: Eleven percent of all women reported severe fear of childbirth, 11.4% among primiparous and 11.0% among multiparous women. There were significant differences between the countries for preva- lence of severe fear of childbirth, varying from 4.5% in Belgium to 15.6% in Estonia for primiparous women and from 7.6% in Iceland to 15.2% in Sweden for multiparous women. After adjusting for age, education and gestational age, only primiparous women from Belgium had significantly less fear of childbirth, AOR 0.35 (0.19–0.52) compared to Norway (largest participating group). Exploratory factor analyses re- vealed significant differences between the countries for the six factors extracted. Conclusion: FOC appears to be an international phenomenon, existing with similar proportions in the participating European countries, except for primiparous women in Belgium who in our study reported significantly less severe fear of childbirth. Our study suggests that the content of fear of childbirth may differ between countries.