Background: Pregnant women empowerment is viewed by policy makers and health care practitioners as a mechanism to help pregnant women adapt to physical and psychological changes after pregnancy, and gain a satisfactory experience of childbirth. The aim of this study was to determine the pregnancy-related empowerment of urban women in Tonekabon, Iran
Methods: The design of the study was cross-sectional. A valid empowerment scale for pregnant women was used to determine pregnancy-related empowerment. The questionnaire containing 27 questions comprised five factors: self-efficacy, future image, self-esteem, support and assurance from others, and joy of an addition to family. Higher scores in all factors mean better empowerment score. In addition, a demographic and reproductive questionnaire was also used to obtain demographics and reproductive information. A total of 200 individuals, from two active urban primary healthcare centers in Tonekabon, were selected using cluster random sampling method. All analyses were performed using SPSS version 17. Independent t-test was used to determine the relationship between demographic and reproductive variables with empowerment.
Results: The mean for the empowerment score of pregnant women was 78.7±6.7 (27 items scored from 1 to 4). The women who worked outside home had higher self esteem score than those who worked just at home (19.3 vs. 17.7) (p= 0.024). Also the mean score of self efficacy in women with support of spouse was higher than those without their spouse support (18.1 vs. 16.1) (p= 0.001). In women with wanted pregnancy, the joy of an addition to the score was higher compared with those with unwanted pregnancy (P= 0.048). There was no statistically significant result found in the mean scores of the five factors (self-efficacy, future image, self-esteem, support and assurance from others, and joy of an addition to family) with age, own education, husband education, and number of pregnancy.
Conclusion: The results of this survey could be used not only to make efficient interventions for pregnant women, but also to promote empowerment of pregnant women.