Women's experiences and preferences following Caesarean birth

Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 2004 Dec;44(6):521-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1479-828X.2004.00300.x.


Aims: To seek women's views on their planned mode of birth in a subsequent pregnancy when they had a single prior Caesarean birth in the immediately preceding pregnancy.

Methods: This study was conducted at the Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide. Using a hospital maintained database, women were identified based on who had given birth by primary Caesarean section between December 2002 and June 2003 to a live born infant. The women were sent a questionnaire to assess their experiences related to their Caesarean birth and their plans for mode of birth in any subsequent pregnancy.

Results: A total of 319 eligible women were identified from the database and sent a questionnaire, with responses obtained from 208 women (65.2%). Most women were satisfied with their birth experience with a mean satisfaction score of 6.3 (+/- 2.8). The most common response when women were asked to indicate the aspects of their birth experience that they liked was those caring for them (153 women; 48%), followed by the reassurance provided about the health of their baby (106 women; 33%) and their own health (88 women; 28%). One fifth of women (63 women; 20%) indicated that they were glad that they had experienced labour. Eighty-five women (41%) indicated that they would in future plan for a vaginal birth, 48 women (23%) would plan for Caesarean section, and 72 women (35%) were unsure.

Conclusions: A proportion of women have a strong preference for mode of birth in a subsequent pregnancy, which is established within 6 months of the woman's birth experience.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Australia
  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Delivery, Obstetric / standards
  • Delivery, Obstetric / trends
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Pain, Postoperative / diagnosis
  • Pain, Postoperative / epidemiology
  • Parity
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Assessment
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vaginal Birth after Cesarean / statistics & numerical data*