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ABSTRACT

: After announcements were made in the public media, 316 couples who had had cesarean births asked to be sent questionnaires about their births. Of these, 228 couples (72%) returned completed questionnaires. The questionnaire covered the reasons for the cesarean, obstetric history, educational level, prenatal and cesarean education, attendance by partner at surgery, anesthesia used, postpartum contact with the baby, and many specific postpartum feelings on the part of father and mother about the birth, baby, themselves, and their care.

Six per cent of the women who had had a first cesarean reported that in-depth information had been provided by physicians, 12 per cent in prenatal classes, 13 per cent by friends and relatives, and 27 per cent by books and magazines. Sixty per cent of women said they got no cesarean information from their doctors and 22 per cent reported getting no cesarean information in their prenatal classes. Disappointment in the birth was felt by 68 per cent and joy by 93 per cent. The majority of respondents found their birth experiences satisfying, but would have liked more information, earlier and more prolonged contact with their infants, and more family-centered births. (BIR TH10:2, Summer 1983)