In 1993 Lowe developed the Childbirth Self-Efficacy Inventory (CBSEI). This is a self-administered, 62-item, Likert tool which measures women's confidence in their ability to cope with labour. The tool is valid and reliable for use in American culture but had not been tested in Northern Ireland, therefore a replication study was deemed necessary. The research study set out to replicate Lowe's study and to test the potential application of this tool in clinical midwifery practice. A convenience sample comprising a cohort of 126 women attending an urban maternity unit in Northern Ireland formed the study population and a response rate of 64% was achieved. The tool was administered antenatally, intranatally and postnatally. The predictive validity of the instrument was tested to determine actual coping behaviours in labour (Pearson's r=0·3963, P <0·00 for active labour; r=0·5149, P <0·00 for second stage labour). This work confirms the CBSEI as a measurement of confidence in women's ability to cope in labour. The authors recommend the utility of the CBSEI in midwifery practice as a tool for the identification of women who will require extra support in labour and pregnancy.