Psychological impact of emergency cesarean section in comparison with elective cesarean section, instrumental and normal vaginal delivery

J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 1998 Sep;19(3):135-44. doi: 10.3109/01674829809025691.


The purpose of the study was to compare the psychological reactions of women after emergency Cesarean section (EmCS), elective Cesarean section (ElCS), instrumental vaginal delivery (IVD) and normal vaginal delivery (NVD). The participants (EmCS, n = 71, ElCS, n = 70, IVD, n = 89, and NVD, n = 96) answered questionnaires a few days postpartum and 1 month postpartum. The EmCS group reported the most negative delivery experience at both times, followed by the IVD group. At a few days postpartum the EmCS group experienced more general mental distress than the NVD group, but not when compared with the ElCS or the IVD groups. At 1 month postpartum the EmCS group showed more symptoms of post-traumatic stress than the ElCS and NVD groups, but not when compared to the IVD group. An unplanned instrumental delivery (EmCS or IVD) should be regarded as a pointer with respect to possible post-traumatic stress.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cesarean Section / adverse effects
  • Cesarean Section / psychology*
  • Delivery, Obstetric / adverse effects
  • Delivery, Obstetric / methods
  • Delivery, Obstetric / psychology*
  • Elective Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Elective Surgical Procedures / psychology*
  • Emergencies / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Middle Aged
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Postpartum Period / psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors