‘As long as they are safe – Birth mode does not matter’ Swedish fathers’ experiences of decision-making around caesarean section
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BACKGROUND: Decision-making in childbirth involves considerations about both the mother and her unborn baby's wellbeing. For men the safety of both is paramount. AIM: To explore and describe Swedish fathers' beliefs and attitudes around the decision for a caesarean section. METHODS: Qualitative descriptive study. Twenty one Swedish men whose partners had experienced elective or emergency caesarean participated in a telephone interview. Thematic data analysis was used. FINDINGS: The theme, 'Childbirth is Risky', included "Caesarean birth has lots of advantages" and "Birth mode does not matter". In the context of having experienced a caesarean section male partners considered birth mode to be irrelevant. The majority considered caesarean to be a quick and efficient way of giving birth which equated to being safer. Most men could articulate some risks associated with caesarean but these were mainly minimised. The second theme, 'Simply a matter of trust: Birth mode is not my decision', reflected men's belief that they had little to contribute to the decisions made around birth mode. The decision for a caesarean section was considered to lie with the medical practitioner. CONCLUSION: Mode of birth was regarded as unimportant. The recommendation for a caesarean section was readily accepted and appreciated, and shifted responsibility for birth to the medical practitioner. Involving men in the decision-making process by means of giving them information was valued. Men's limited knowledge about the risks of a caesarean may contribute to birth mode decisions. Professionals need to provide balanced and correct information within the context of individual circumstances.
Women and Birth