Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing



First Advisor

Lauri D John


Fear of birth is an extreme state of anxiety from phobia about childbirth. It causes severe distress and anxiety. Women experiencing this distress may decide to avoid pregnancy, terminate pregnancy, or elect cesarean delivery without medical necessity. Prevalence of fear of birth in the United States has been reported in only three studies and has ranged from 27% to 52%, but the populations studied were healthy, college-aged, women who were not pregnant and were nulliparous. In other countries, the average prevalence rate of fear of birth in nulliparous and multiparous women at various points during pregnancy was 23%. Researchers from other countries have found that mental illness, lack of support, nulliparity, history of abuse, previous negative birth experience, media, and self-efficacy were the most common risk factors for fear of birth in these countries. No studies were found in which researchers from the United States examined these risk factors for fear of birth. A descriptive correlational design was used to determine prevalence of and risk factors for fear of birth in the United States in pregnant nulliparous and multiparous women. Participants recruited on pregnancy Facebook pages responded to an anonymous online survey used to measure demographics and risk factors for fear of birth. The prevalence of fear of birth for the 137 pregnant nulliparous and multiparous women from the United States who completed the survey was 39.4%. Parity, social support, and maternal confidence were significantly associated with fear of birth (p < .05). Parity and social support were significant predictors of fear of birth (R² = 21.9% and adjusted R² = 11.9%). Future research in the United States is needed to support the findings for this study using different recruitment settings and different measurement methods to support the findings about the factors associated with fear of birth.


Nursing, Fear of birth, Anxiety, Pregnancy


Medicine and Health Sciences | Nursing


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Nursing Commons