PSYCHOLOGICAL AND ATTITUDINAL REACTIONS TO CHILDBIRTH OF RECENTLY PARTURIENT WOMEN

CAROLE MORGINSKY, Fordham University

Abstract

The major objectives of this research were to examine preparational factors involved in childbirth and the elements of the birth experience itself in relationship to their psychological consequences for the woman; also to investigate the role of several elements of Family-centered Maternity Care. A further objective was the comparison of the psychological effects of vaginal and cesarean childbirth including the role of complications.^ The subjects were 134 predominantly white and middle-class primiparae between 18 and 34 years of age, tested within several days postpartum. Instruments used included: a Postpartum Questionnaire developed by the investigator; the Multiple Affect Adjective Check List with today, in general, and antepartum time sets; the Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale with antepartum and postpartum time sets; the Body Cathexis Scale; and a Likert-scale format of the Rotter Internal-External Locus of Control Scale. Additional instruments assessed attitudes toward husband and baby as well as evaluation of anticipated and actual labor and delivery via the semantic differential techniques.^ Results demonstrated the least favorable outcome for women having a cesarean delivery. Their experiences were perceived as negative and disappointing, and they reported the highest postpartum anxiety and depression levels among the delivery groups. However, their self-images and birth experiences improved under conditions of full consciousness at delivery and nearly immediate physical contact with their newborns. An uncomplicated vaginal delivery resulted in positive birth experiences which were better than anticipated, while complicated vaginal delivery experiences were intermediate between the other two groups.^ A greater amount of Family-centered Maternity Care provided more highly evaluated experiences for those having cesareans and higher self-esteem for woman having an uncomplicated vaginal delivery. Husband attendance at the delivery also resulted in more enjoyable birth experiences which met expectations for cesarean and complicated vaginal delivery women.^ Although training provided the women with more accurate expectations for the labor and delivery, it had greatest importance in outcome for the cesarean-delivery group. For the women in this study, greater anxiety and depression and lower self-esteem were experienced in late pregnancy compared to postpartum.^

Subject Area

Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

MORGINSKY, CAROLE, "PSYCHOLOGICAL AND ATTITUDINAL REACTIONS TO CHILDBIRTH OF RECENTLY PARTURIENT WOMEN" (1982). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8213251.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8213251

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