- This study was carried out in Beer Sheva, Israel on 200 Jewish women. The women were interviewed twice; several weeks before delivery at the ‘antenatal care’ clinic, and within 48 h of delivery. The questionnaire included socio-demographic information, past obstetric history, questions on previous births and expectations from the present birth. Anxiety was measured before and after delivery by the ‘State and Trait Anxiety Inventory’ compiled by Spielberger. The questionnaire used after delivery included obstetric data and questions concerning the woman's perception of the childbirth experience. The findings of this study indicated that higher anxiety state and trait before birth associated significantly to a negative childbirth experience. Some factors like lack of explanation on childbirth and multiparity were shown to be associated with higher anxiety states before labour, while other factors that were found to have an important effect on the perception of childbirth as a negative experience were: (1) previous negative birth experience (P = 0.025); (2) abnormal deliveries (vacuum, forceps, cesarean section, P < 0.01); and (3) ethnic origin (P < 0.01). According to our study, thorough explanation of what happens during pregnancy and labour which would be considered clear and satisfactory by the expectant mother, as well as more attention and support given to multiparous pregnant women, might positively influence the childbirth experience, directly or indirectly by reducing anxiety state.