A new study published in the Journal of Perinatology shows that women who have planned c-section are generally satisfied with their birthing experience. This is particularly interesting as previous studies had shown that c-sections had lead to higher rates of post-partum depression and that mother who had delivered vaginally had traditionally shown much higher levels of satisfaction with their experience. Post partum depression has been linked to negative experiences during the delivery process.
The apparent increase in satisfaction with the cesarean birth correlates to an increased use of the procedure in many hospitals over the last decade. While the necessity for c-section is recognized for many situations in which the life or health of the mother or fetus may be at risk, doctors and public health officials are concerned about that many women who have elective c-sections may be unnecessarily exposing themselves to additional risk of complications.
The increased satisfaction may be linked to several factors; two that seem most likely are a reduced stigmatization of c-section delivery and a determination that it was stiff safe to have a vaginal birth after having a c-section. While in prior decades a c-section delivery may have carried with it an implication that a woman was somehow unfit, few if any still carry that stigma.
One factor that may play a large role in mother’s satisfaction with ‘planned’ c-sections is the very fact that they are planned. Women who had planned to have a vaginal birth but then had a c-section due to unexpected medical necessity did not report similar levels of satisfaction. By planning a c-section a mother not only is able to ensure that her own doctor performs the delivery, but also it gives her increased control over a situation that can sometimes feel out of her hands once she walks through the hospital door.
Source: Los Angeles Times “Moms who planned C-sections report high satisfaction, study says” Meredith Cohn, May 8, 2011