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Summary: We wished to inquire into the reasons why obstetricians choose Caesarean section as the preferred delivery mode and how they make that decision in individual settings. We therefore surveyed obstetricians to ascertain die obstetrical events at the time of the decision and the reasons for the decision. Two hospitals with the same consultant medical staff were chosen for the study, The Jamison Private Hospital and The Nepean Hospital. The study group was analyzed using hospital, classification, parity, whether the procedure was elective or in labour, the stage of labour at which the Caesarean section was performed, and the primary and secondary reasons for the decision.

Six hundred and twenty-four women were studied. When comparing the 2 institutions, there were 2 statistically significant findings. Firstly, the women at The Nepean Hospital were younger (27.9 ± 5.6) than at Jamison Private Hospital (30.5 ± 4.4; p<0.001). Secondly, in the numbers of women undergoing Caesarean section in the ‘failure to progress’ category, there was a higher incidence (p<0.001) at the private hospital. Apart from these differences, the 2 groups were remarkably similar.