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Study results suggest that women do not really see decision-making about birth method as their “choice” and challenge the notion of choice currently prevalent in international debates about cesarean delivery for maternal request (CDMR).
CDMR is currently perceived as a leading reason for increasing cesarean section (CS) rates by obstetricians worldwide.
… study researchers explored the views and experiences of 454 primigravid women accessing National Health Service maternity care to analyze decision-making surrounding birth method.
In total, 72 percent of the 397 women who returned their questionnaires reported that they would prefer to give birth vaginally, while only 3 percent reported a preference for planned CS.
By late pregnancy the proportion of women expressing a preference for CDMR declined to 2 percent, while those reporting a preference for vaginal birth increased to 80 percent. Furthermore, only one woman out of 454 women consistently expressed a preference for planned CS.
… Moreover, women accepted that their actual birth method would be determined by the circumstances of their pregnancy, and questionnaire responses indicated that over 55 percent of women believe their right to choice should be overridden by healthcare professionals.
Carol Kingdon (University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK) and co-authors recommend, in light of the study findings, that birth options should be revisited and discussed at different time-points throughout pregnancy.