Expectation and experiences of childbirth in primiparae with caesarean section

Authors

  • I Wiklund,

    Corresponding author
    1. a Division of Obstetrics and Gynecologyb Division of Psychiatrics, R&D Section, Danderyd Hospital and c Division of Women and Children’s Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • a G Edman,

    1. a Division of Obstetrics and Gynecologyb Division of Psychiatrics, R&D Section, Danderyd Hospital and c Division of Women and Children’s Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • b E-L Ryding,

    1. a Division of Obstetrics and Gynecologyb Division of Psychiatrics, R&D Section, Danderyd Hospital and c Division of Women and Children’s Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • and c E Andolf a

    1. a Division of Obstetrics and Gynecologyb Division of Psychiatrics, R&D Section, Danderyd Hospital and c Division of Women and Children’s Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
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Dr I Wiklund, BB Stockholm, Danderyd Hospital, Karolinska Institutet, SE-182 88 Stockholm, Sweden. Email ingela.wiklund@bb.ptj.se

Abstract

Objective  The aim of this study was to examine the expectations and experiences in women undergoing a caesarean section on maternal request and compare these with women undergoing caesarean section with breech presentation as the indication and women who intended to have vaginal delivery acting as a control group. A second aim was to study whether assisted delivery and emergency caesarean section in the control group affected the birth experience.

Design  A prospective group-comparison cohort study.

Setting  Danderyd Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.

Sample  First-time mothers (n= 496) were recruited to the study in week 37–39 of gestation and follow up was carried out 3 months after delivery. Comparisons were made between ‘caesarean section on maternal request’, ‘caesarean section due to breech presentation’ and ‘controls planning a vaginal delivery’.

Methods  The instrument used was the Wijma Delivery Expectancy/Experience Questionnaire (W-DEQ).

Main outcome measures  Expectations prior to delivery and experiences at 3 months after birth.

Results  Mothers requesting a caesarean section had more negative expectations of a vaginal delivery (P < 0.001) and 43.4% in this group showed a clinically significant fear of delivery. Mothers in the two groups expecting a vaginal delivery, but having an emergency caesarean section or an assisted vaginal delivery had more negative experiences of childbirth (P < 0.001).

Conclusions  Women requesting caesarean section did not always suffer from clinically significant fear of childbirth. The finding that women subjected to complicated deliveries had a negative birth experience emphasises the importance of postnatal support.

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