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Call for guidance for women choosing C-sections

A study calls for women to be given more information as numbers choosing caesareans for non-medical reasons rise
C-section

A study has highlighted the need for appropriate advice to be given to women who choose to have a caesarean birth for non-medical reasons.

Over the past few decades the rates of women choosing C-sections for non-medical reasons have been rising.

To uncover the reasons for the increased popularity of C-sections the report authors enlisted 65,549 women who were receiving antenatal care in Belgium, Iceland, Denmark, Estonia, Norway and Sweden between 2008 and 2010.

About 24 weeks into the pregnancy the women were asked to state their preferred birth method and given a questionnaire. The questions assessed levels of fear of childbirth, depression and history of emotional, physical and sexual abuse, as well as examined the womens experiences of childbirth.

C-section was chosen by 113 (3.5%) of women for their first birth and 291 (8.7%) of those who had already given birth.

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A study has highlighted the need for appropriate advice to be given to women who choose to have a caesarean birth for non-medical reasons.

Over the past few decades the rates of women choosing C-sections for non-medical reasons have been rising.

To uncover the reasons for the increased popularity of C-sections the report authors enlisted 65,549 women who were receiving antenatal care in Belgium, Iceland, Denmark, Estonia, Norway and Sweden between 2008 and 2010.

About 24 weeks into the pregnancy the women were asked to state their preferred birth method and given a questionnaire. The questions assessed levels of fear of childbirth, depression and history of emotional, physical and sexual abuse, as well as examined the women’s experiences of childbirth.

C-section was chosen by 113 (3.5%) of women for their first birth and 291 (8.7%) of those who had already given birth.

About three quarters (286) of the 404 women who preferred C-section in mid-pregnancy actually had one, but hospital records noted that most of the C-sections were performed for medical reasons.

The study found that women who are afraid of giving birth, with depression, a history of abuse or who have had a previous bad experience while giving birth are more likely to opt for a C-section.

The researchers concluded that medical and psychological factors should be addressed in antenatal counselling.

They recommended that obstetricians should give women information tailored to their specific needs that outlines the risks and benefits of C-sections.

They also advise that maternity professionals should identify and explore psychosocial reasons for women’s choices.

Pregnant women’s preference for cesarean section and subsequent mode of birth – a six-country cohort study. Ryding EL et al (2016) Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology. doi: 10.1080/0167482X.2016.1181055

 

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