News: Why do women elect C/S?

May 1, 2008

While about half of first-time mothers requesting elective cesarean section have a clinically significant fear of childbirth, the other half just have more negative expectations of a vaginal delivery.

While about half of first-time mothers requesting elective cesarean section have a clinically significant fear of childbirth, the other half just have more negative expectations of a vaginal delivery, underscoring the need for better prenatal counseling and support, say the authors of a small group-comparison cohort study from Sweden.

Researchers included 496 first-time mothers who were 37 to 39 weeks' pregnant and followed them until 3 months postpartum. They found that only 43.4% of the women requesting a C/S scored above 84 on the Wijma Delivery Expectancy/Experience Questionnaire, which is the cutoff for a clinically significant fear of childbirth, versus 13.2% of a group of women expecting a vaginal delivery, and 6% of a group of women expecting a vaginal delivery but receiving a C/S due to a breech presentation.

Interestingly, the women in the two groups anticipating a vaginal delivery, but having an emergency C/S or assisted vaginal delivery, had a more negative experience of childbirth (P<.001), underscoring the need for better postnatal support.