Comparison of childbirth experiences and postpartum depression among primiparous women based on their attendance in childbirth preparation classes
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Background: Assessment of women’s childbirth experience is an important indicator in maternity services. Positive childbirth experiences improve mothers’ health, whereas negative childbirth experiences can cause psychological stresses and, in extreme cases, may lead to postpartum depression. Methods: In this cohort study, 204 women at 35–37 weeks of gestation were selected using cluster sampling from the health centers of Tabriz, Iran. Women were divided into three groups (68 women in each group) based on their attendance in childbirth preparation classes: (a) non-attenders (did not attend any sessions), (b) irregular attenders (attended 1–3 sessions), and (c) regular attendants (attended 4–8 sessions). Interviews were conducted at one month postpartum to complete the Childbirth Experience Questionnaire (CEQ) and Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). The general linear model (GLM) was used to identify associations between women’s attendance to the classes and either their childbirth experience or postpartum depression scores. Results: Based on the GLM, the mean score of childbirth experience among the regular attenders was significantly higher than women who were irregular attenders (p = .032) or non-attenders (p < .001). In addition, the mean score of postpartum depression scale was significantly lower among regular attenders compared with non-attenders (p < .001). However, there was no significant difference in postpartum depression score among regular and irregular attenders (p = .257). Conclusions: Attending prenatal classes was associated with positive childbirth experience and low postpartum depression score.