Elective cesarean section and decision making: A critical review of the literature

McCourt, Chris, Weaver, Jane, Statham, Helen, Beake, Sarah, Gamble, Jenny and Creedy, Debra K. (2007) Elective cesarean section and decision making: A critical review of the literature. Birth, 34 1: 65-79. doi:10.1111/j.1523-536X.2006.00147.x

Author McCourt, Chris
Weaver, Jane
Statham, Helen
Beake, Sarah
Gamble, Jenny
Creedy, Debra K.
Title Elective cesarean section and decision making: A critical review of the literature
Journal name Birth   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0730-7659
Publication date 2007-03-01
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1111/j.1523-536X.2006.00147.x
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 34
Issue 1
Start page 65
End page 79
Total pages 15
Place of publication Hoboken, NJ, United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The cesarean section rate continues to rise in many countries with routine access to medical services, yet this increase is not associated with improvement in perinatal mortality or morbidity. A large number of commentaries in the medical literature and media suggest that consumer demand contributes significantly to the continued rise of births by cesarean section internationally. The objective of this article was to critically review the research literature concerning women's preference or request for elective cesarean section published since that critiqued by Gamble and Creedy in 2000.

A search of key databases using a range of search terms produced over 200 articles, of which 80 were potentially relevant. Of these, 38 were research-based articles and 40 were opinion-based articles. A total of 17 articles fitted the criteria for review. A range of methodologies was used, with varying quality, making meta-analysis of findings inappropriate, and simple summaries of results difficult to produce.

The range and quality of studies had increased since 2001, reflecting continuing concern. Women's preference for cesarean section varied from 0.3 to 14 percent; however, only 3 studies looked directly at this preference in the absence of clinical indications. Women's preference for a cesarean section related to psychological factors, perceptions of safety, or in some countries, was influenced by cultural or social factors.

Research between 2000 and 2005 shows evidence of very small numbers of women requesting a cesarean section. A range of personal and societal reasons, including fear of birth and perceived inequality and inadequacy of care, underpinned these requests.
Keyword Cesarean section
Decision making
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: ERA 2012 Admin Only
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 127 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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