Why do women request caesarean section in a normal, healthy first pregnancy?
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Background and context a growing number of childbearing women are reported to prefer a caesarean section in the absence of a medical reason. Qualitative research describing factors influencing this preference in pregnant women is lacking. Objective to describe Australian women's request for caesarean section in the absence of medical indicators in their first pregnancy. Design advertisements were placed in local newspapers inviting women to participate in a telephone interview exploring women's experience of caesarean section. Thematic analysis was used to analyse data. Setting two states of Australia: Queensland and Western Australia. Participants a community sample of women (n=210) responded to the advertisements. This paper presents the findings elicited from interviews conducted with 14 women who requested a caesarean section during their first pregnancy in the absence of a known medical indication. Findings childbirth fear, issues of control and safety, and a devaluing of the female body and birth process were the main themes underpinning women's requests for a non-medically-indicated caesarean section. Women perceived that medical discourses supported and reinforced their decision as a 'safe' and 'responsible' choice. Key conclusions and recommendations for practice these findings assist women and health professionals to better understand how childbirth can be constructed as a fearful event. In light of the evidence about the risks associated with surgical birth, health-care professionals need to explore these perceptions with women and develop strategies to promote women's confidence and competence in their ability to give birth naturally.
Nursing not elsewhere classified