Women's experiences of intrapartum care and recovery in relation to planned caesarean sections: An interview study

Elsevier BV
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Women and Birth, 2020
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
© 2020 Australian College of Midwives Problem and background: Approximately one third of women in high-income countries give birth by caesarean section (CS). Better understanding of women's CS experiences is vital in identifying opportunities to improve women's experience of care. Aim: To identify opportunities for service improvement by investigating Australian women's experiences of care and recovery when undergoing a planned CS. Methods: Qualitative telephone interview study with 33 women who had a planned CS at one of eight Australian hospitals. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to elicit women's perspectives, experiences and beliefs surrounding their planned CS. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed inductively using NVivo-12. Results: Women's experiences of CS care were mixed. Regarding intrapartum care, many women stated their planned CS was a positive experience compared to a previous emergency CS, but was scarier and more medicalised compared to vaginal birth. CS recovery was viewed more negatively, with women feeling unprepared. They reported disliking how CS recovery restricted their role as a mother, wanting more time in hospital, and greater support and continuity of care. Discussion: Women reported largely positive intrapartum experiences of planned CS but relatively negative experiences of CS recovery. They wished for time in hospital and support from staff during recovery, and continuity of care. Conclusion: By incorporating shared decision-making antenatally, clinicians can discuss women's birth expectations with them and better prepare them for their planned CS and recovery.
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