Fear of childbirth in Iran: A systematic review of psychological intervention research
Background: Due to the fear of childbirth (FOC) and failure to provide painless delivery in Iran, the prevalence rate of elective cesarean section (C-section) performed on request by pregnant women is on the rise. However, no systematic review assessing the results of studies in this respect has been thus far developed.
Objective: To systematically review published psychological intervention research reflecting on FOC in Iran.
Materials and Methods: In this systematic review, the databases of PubMed, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Wiley, ISI Web of Science, Scopus, Science Direct, Cochrane Library, Google Scholar, and Scientific Information Database were searched to retrieve the relevant studies. Manual searches were performed to find the relevant articles and finally 21 intervention studies were reviewed.
Results: Based on the modified Jadad Scale, a methodological quality (risk of bias) assessment tool, 14 and 7 studies had acceptable or good and low quality, respectively. The included articles covered fear, fear of childbirth, pregnancy, and psychological intervention in Iran. Cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques, psychological counseling, childbirth preparation classes (CPCs), mindfulness programs, and psychoeducation had been also practiced as the main types of psychological interventions for reducing FOC in pregnant women.
Conclusion: There was no clear evidence to establish the most effective method for minimizing levels of FOC in pregnant women. Based on the assessment tool and since most of the studies had moderate or low quality, conducting standard and high-quality randomized controlled trials focusing on FOC in pregnant women is of most importance in Iranian population.
Key words: Fear, Childbirth, Pregnancy, Psychological intervention, Iran.
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