Antenatal predictors and use of coping strategies in labour

P. Slade, D. Escott, H. Spiby, B. Henderson, R. B. Fräser

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    One aim of antenatal preparation is developing coping strategies for use during labour. However, the existing literature suggests that attendance at classes is not associated with lower pain or distress, possibly because receiving training cannot be assumed to be associated with subsequent practice. This study aimed to assess whether attenders at classes actually used their taught strategies in their labours, whether use was associated with psychological benefits and whether antenatal measures could predict subsequent use. Concepts from the theories of planned behaviour and self efficacy were used to attempt to predict use of three types of coping strategy. Use was high for breathing strategies but poor for relaxation and posture. Proportion of use of breathing and relaxation showed weak associations with lower fear. Whilst intentions did act as significant predictors for use of posture and relaxation only small proportions of the variance were accounted for and other antenatal measures showed little predictive capacity. Reasons why women in labour may fail to take behavioural consequences from their antenatal beliefs are considered. Predicting health-related behaviours where maintenance rather than just initiation is involved may require greater consideration of intra-situational and emotional factors. Modifications of antenatal preparation to facilitate use of strategies are discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)555-569
    Number of pages14
    JournalPsychology and Health
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


    • Antenatal education
    • Coping labour
    • Health behaviours
    • Prediction


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