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Nurs Res. 1983 Jan-Feb;32(1):10-5.

Women's perceptions of vaginal and cesarean deliveries.


Three groups of women were compared to determine their perceptions of giving birth and the relationships between those perceptions and their degree of participation in decision making, the type of anesthesia for delivery, and the presence of their husbands at the births. Forty women had vaginal deliveries; 39 had emergency cesareans, and 43 had planned cesareans. All the women were interviewed and completed self-administered questionnaires two to four days after delivery. The three groups had significantly different perceptions of the birth experience with the emergency cesarean birth group having the most negative perception. Among women having cesareans, more positive perceptions were associated with regional anesthesia, presence of their husbands at delivery, and greater participation in decision making. Women in the cesarean groups were less likely to breast feed, and those having planned cesareans were least likely to attend childbirth classes. Many of the women were unaware of the options available to them that could influence the birth experiences.

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