Friday, November 4, 2011

Why do some women prefer birth by caesarean? New research published

It's taken a few years to publish but it's finally here - my website survey results formally published in the British Journal of Midwifery:
Why do some women prefer birth by caesarean? An internet survey by Pauline Hull, Carol Bedwell, Tina Lavender
BJM, Vol. 19, Iss. 11, 02 Nov 2011, pp 708 - 716

Abstract: Caesarean section at maternal request remains a contentious issue, fuelled by reports of associated morbidity. To explore the motivations behind women's expression of preference for a planned caesarean birth, an internet survey was conducted using semi-structured questionnaires available via a UK-based international website,, over a 9-month period. A convenience sample of 359 pregnant women who stated that their preferred delivery method was 'elective caesarean section through my own choice' was included.
Data were analyzed descriptively and thematically. Women from 16 countries were included. Two main themes were identified: 1) anti-vaginal birth; and 2) physical and psychological validation. Women who were anti-vaginal birth had a fear of morbidity (maternal and neonatal) and of the birth experience. They viewed vaginal birth as unpredictable and saw planned caesarean birth as a safer alternative. Some women justified their decision of birth mode by referring to either a physical or psychological issue that related to a previous birth or an existing medical complication. Respondents had similar views regardless of country of residence. We concluded that women have multiple reasons for wanting a caesarean birth. These reasons are usually considered, and motivated by a genuine desire to avoid the potential problems of vaginal birth. Individualized birth consultations should include discussion of the risks and benefits of vaginal and caesarean birth as they relate to individual women.

Thank you to everyone involved, and in particular, Tina, Carol and Alice (BJM editor)!

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