The fact and the fiction: A prospective study of internet forum discussions on vaginal breech birth

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Women and Birth, 2017, 30 (2), pp. e96 - e102
Issue Date:
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© 2016 Australian College of Midwives Background Women with a breech baby late in pregnancy may use the internet to gather information to assist in decision-making for birth. The aim of this study was to examine how women use English language internet discussion forums to find out information about vaginal breech birth and to increase understanding of how vaginal breech birth is perceived among women. Method A descriptive qualitative study of internet discussion forums was undertaken. Google alerts were created with the search terms “breech birth” and “breech”. Alerts were collected for a one-year period (January 2013–December 2013). The content of forum discussions was analysed using thematic analysis. Results A total of 50 forum discussions containing 382 comments were collected. Themes that arose from the data were: Testing the waters—which way should I go?; Losing hope for the chance of a normal birth; Seeking support for options—who will listen to me?; Considering vaginal breech birth—a risky choice?; Staying on the ‘safe side’—caesarean section as a guarantee; Exploring the positive potential for vaginal breech birth. Conclusion Women search online for information about vaginal breech birth in an attempt to come to a place in their decision-making where they feel comfortable with their birth plan. This study highlights the need for clinicians to provide comprehensive, unbiased information on the risks and benefits of all options for breech birth to facilitate informed decision-making for the woman. This will contribute to improving the woman's confidence in distinguishing between “the fact and the fiction” of breech birth discussions online.
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