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Psicologia, Saúde & Doenças

Print version ISSN 1645-0086


CONDE, Ana et al. Perception of childbirth experience: continuity and change over the postpartum period. Psic., Saúde & Doenças [online]. 2007, vol.8, n.1, pp.49-66. ISSN 1645-0086.

The delivery is an experience perceived as difficult by most mothers; the way mothers remember this experience during the early postpartum months can interfere in their mood and predisposition to get pregnant again. Aims: The main aim of this study is to explore continuities and changes in the perception of the childbirth experience throughout the first six postpartum months, and relating them to the type of delivery. Method: A sample of 306 pregnant women, recruited at the Júlio Dinis Maternity Hospital (Oporto, Portugal), filled in the "Childbirth Experience and Satisfaction Questionnaire" (QESP, Costa, Figueiredo, Pacheco, & Pais, 2004) in the first 48 hours after delivery, 3rd and 6th postpartum months. Results: Results showed changes in the perception of childbirth experience in a positive way between 48 hours after delivery and the 6th postpartum month. At this moment, women perceived their childbirth experience with more positive emotions, less negative emotions and fewer worries during delivery. The occurrence of these positive changes is associated to the type of delivery, being especially clear in normal deliveries with epidural analgesia and in cesarean with general anaesthetic. Conclusions: The construction of a more positive perception of childbirth experience can be a relevant postpartum developmental task, more consistent in normal deliveries with epidural analgesia and in caesarean with general anaesthetic.

Keywords : Obstetric analgesia; Perception of childbirth experience.

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