Cultural perceptions and preferences of Iranian women regarding cesarean delivery

Robab Latifnejad-Roudsari, Maryam Zakerihamidi, Effat Merghati-Khoei, Anoshirvan Kazemnejad



Background: Data was reported in Iran in 2013 has shown that almost 42 percent of deliveries in public hospitals and 90 percent in private hospitals were carried out with cesarean section. This high rate of cesarean requires careful consideration. It seems that making decision for cesarean is done under the influence of cultural perceptions and beliefs. So, this study was conducted to explore pregnant women’s preferences and perceptions regarding cesarean delivery.

Materials and Methods: A focused ethnographic study was used. 12 pregnant women and 10 delivered women, seven midwives, seven gynecologist and nine non-pregnant women referred to the health clinics of Tonekabon, who selected purposively, were included in the study. To collect data semi-structured in-depth interviews and participant observation were used. Study rigor was confirmed through prolonged engagement, member check, expert debriefing, and thick description of the data. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis and MAXQDA software.

Results: Four themes emerged from the data including personal beliefs, fear of vaginal delivery, cultural norms and values and also social network. These concepts played main roles in how women develop meanings toward caesarean, which affected their perceptions and preferences in relation to caesarean delivery.

Conclusion: Most of pregnant women believed that fear of vaginal delivery is a major factor to choose caesarean delivery. Hence, midwives and physicians could help them through improving the quality of prenatal care and giving them positive perception towards vaginal delivery through presenting useful information about the nature of different modes of delivery, and their advantages and disadvantages, as well as the alternative ways to control labor pain.

Key words: Cesarean delivery, decision-making, focused ethnography, qualitative study

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