Maternal request for an elective caesarean section: An interpretive descriptive study of primigravid women's request for an elective caesarean section

Arthur, Dianne
Payne, Debbie
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Master of Health Science
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Auckland University of Technology

This research explores and identifies primigravid women’s reasons for requesting an elective caesarean section when there is no medical reason for them to give birth this way. The issue of women requesting caesarean section is a complex topic being debated worldwide and is full of contradictions. A review of the literature related to maternal request for an elective caesarean section reveals an abundance of papers covering the topic from medical journals to the tabloid press. Few studies have focused on the women and why they are choosing this method of birth. Five women who had experienced a caesarean section without medical indication were interviewed over a two-month period. Interpretive description was used as the method of data analysis because it involves description about a shared health or illness phenomenon from the perspective of those who have lived it. Six themes were identified from the study. The two predominant themes were, influencing voices and safety of the unborn child. Each woman in the study related stories from friends and families that considered vaginal birth as being risky and unpredictable. The safety of the child was paramount for four out of the five women. They perceived that a caesarean section was best method of delivery to ensure a normal healthy child. The remaining four themes voiced by the participants were, vaginal birth as hazardous to the mother, feelings of guilt, the right to choose and staying in control. These findings all helped to answer my question of why primigravid women chose to birth by caesarean section.

Cesarean section , Childbirth
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