What characterizes women in Norway who wish to have a caesarean section?

Scand J Public Health. 2009 Jun;37(4):364-71. doi: 10.1177/1403494809105027. Epub 2009 Apr 16.


Aims: The aim of this study was to describe the characteristics of pregnant women who wish to have a caesarean section.

Methods: Data were collected as part of the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Pregnant women booked for antenatal care in Norway between 1999 and 2006 were invited to participate in the study. Data on women's interest in mode of delivery and a set of associated variables were gathered from a questionnaire completed by 55,859 women at 30 weeks of pregnancy.

Results: A wish for caesarean section was expressed by 10% of the women, and 33% thought that the woman herself should be allowed to decide whether to have a caesarean section or not. A negative experience from a previous labour, a second birth, an age>35, a low level of education, being single, being unemployed, having an assisted conception, expecting more than one foetus, experiencing urinary and bowel incontinence before current pregnancy, experiencing pelvic pain, having a fear of childbirth and reporting negative intra-psychic phenomena were significantly associated with a wish for caesarean section.

Conclusions: At 30 weeks of pregnancy, one out of 10 women in a sample of Norwegian women would choose a caesarean section. Negative experiences from previous pregnancies and fear of giving birth are two of the strongest factors associated with a wish for a caesarean section and should be taken into consideration.

MeSH terms

  • Cesarean Section / psychology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Elective Surgical Procedures / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Maternal Age
  • Norway
  • Parturition / psychology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnant Women / psychology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires