Women's experiences and preferences following Caesarean birth


Correspondence: Dr Jodie Dodd, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, The University of Adelaide, 72 King William Road, North Adelaide 5006, Australia. Email: jodie.dodd@adelaide.edu.au


Aims: To seek women's views on their planned mode of birth in a subsequent pregnancy when they had a single prior Caesarean birth in the immediately preceding pregnancy.

Methods: This study was conducted at the Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide. Using a hospital maintained database, women were identified based on who had given birth by primary Caesarean section between December 2002 and June 2003 to a live born infant. The women were sent a questionnaire to assess their experiences related to their Caesarean birth and their plans for mode of birth in any subsequent pregnancy.

Results: A total of 319 eligible women were identified from the database and sent a questionnaire, with responses obtained from 208 women (65.2%). Most women were satisfied with their birth experience with a mean satisfaction score of 6.3 (± 2.8). The most common response when women were asked to indicate the aspects of their birth experience that they liked was those caring for them (153 women; 48%), followed by the reassurance provided about the health of their baby (106 women; 33%) and their own health (88 women; 28%). One fifth of women (63 women; 20%) indicated that they were glad that they had experienced labour. Eighty-five women (41%) indicated that they would in future plan for a vaginal birth, 48 women (23%) would plan for Caesarean section, and 72 women (35%) were unsure.

Conclusions: A proportion of women have a strong preference for mode of birth in a subsequent pregnancy, which is established within 6 months of the woman's birth experience.