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The birth partner: Surveying their experience and assessing their anxiety.
Abstract Number: F-59
Abstract Type: Original Research
There is evidence that the birth partner's anxiety has a role in the level of pain and anxiety experienced by the mother during cesarean delivery (1). Our survey aims are to evaluate the information given to the birth partner before cesarean delivery, examine their experience during the procedure and assess their level of anxiety. To assess severity of anxiety we utilised the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), a 21-question multiple-choice self-reported questionnaire(2). The BAI identifies the cognitive and somatic components of anxiety.
Identical questionnaires were completed by birth partners on the postnatal ward following their partner's cesarean delivery. The first part of the questionnaire is summarised in the table. From the birth partners BAI responses their level of anxiety was graded minimal, mild, moderate and severe.
Twenty-five questionnaires were completed. 19/25 of the respondents were husband/partners whilst 6/25 were a family member or friend. The majority of the partner's anxiety (15/25) were graded at mild, 6/25 minimal and 4/25 moderate. There were no respondents who graded at severe anxiety. Chi square test was performed to compare the anesthetic pre-op attender group to the non-attender group. P < 0.05 was defined as significant. 44% of non-attenders suffered moderate anxiety whilst no one in the attender group experienced moderate anxiety (P = 0.0036)
Our survey demonstrates that attending a cesarean delivery as a birth partner is an anxious experience. 76% (19/25) of our birth partners graded their anxiety mild/moderate. Only just over half of the birth partners were present at the surgical and anesthetic pre-operative discussions. It was noted that the four birth partners that rated their anxiety as moderate did not attend either of the pre-operative discussions and did not feel they were given adequate information.
However, during the procedure the majority of partners felt well supported, were given adequate explanation of events and felt included in the delivery. This survey highlights the importance of providing information to the birth partner before the procedure.
(1) Psychosom Med. 2006 Jan-Feb;68(1):167-74.Psychosocial influences on women's experience of planned elective cesarean section. Keogh E et al.
(2)J Consult Clin Psychol. 1988 Dec;56(6):893-7. An inventory for measuring clinical anxiety: psychometric properties. Beck AT et al.