• birth;
  • Caesarean section;
  • Kurdish women;
  • qualitative study

Choosing between a normal delivery and Caesarean section is a matter of critical importance for a pregnant woman. The third trimester is the time for her to think about methods of delivery. The study aims to gain insight into Kurdish pregnant women's birth preference and their perception of factors influencing this choice. In this qualitative study, 22 pregnant Kurdish women were interviewed during the third trimester of their pregnancies. The setting for the study included three public health-care centres of Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences in Sanandaj, a centre of the Kurdistan province at the western part of Iran. Study participants were recruited from maternity units of health-care centres. A purposive sample was used initially and then theoretical sampling was used towards the end of the data analysis. Sample size was not predetermined but was determined when interviewing reached saturation, that is, when no new data emerged about categories. The sample size was restricted to 22, as no new data were generated after the 20th interview. The criteria required for inclusion in the study were being Kurdish women, being in the third trimester of pregnancy, no physical disability, no history of Caesarean section and interest in the study. A qualitative design was chosen, as it is particularly suited to studying complex phenomena or processes that are less understood. This study revealed that of the 22 participants, 18 preferred vaginal delivery and only four preferred Caesarean section. The reasons for choosing the vaginal delivery method were grouped into four categories: safety of baby, fear, previous experience and social support. This finding does not support the rate of Caesarean section among Kurdish women in Sanandaj. It might reflect the effect of other factors such as social, institutional, professional and quality of care on women's choice for delivery method.