The relationship between mode of delivery and postpartum physical and mental health related quality of life

Zohreh Sadat, Mahboubeh Taebi, Farzaneh Saberi, Masoumeh Abedzadeh Kalarhoudi


Background: The postpartum period is a critical life event for women leading physical, emotional, and social changes. Postpartum quality-of-life may be affected by delivery mode. The purpose of this study was to determine the association between postpartum health related quality-of-life (HRQoL) and mode of delivery.

Materials and Methods: In a prospective study, 300 women consisting of 150 vaginal deliveries (VD) and 150 cesarean sections (CS) were recruited between August 2007 and October 2008 from health centers. Stratified random sampling was performed to select 10 Health Centers in Kashan City, Iran. Physical and mental HRQoL was measured using the SF-36 questionnaire and compared between VD and CS groups 2 and 4 months after delivery. Data were analyzed by using the Student’s t-test, Mann– Whitney U-test, and Chi-square test.

Results: Results showed physical HRQoL at 2 months after VD was better than CS significantly; there were significant differences in the physical functioning and role physical subscales. Furthermore mental HRQoL at 4 months after VD was better than CS significantly; there were significant difference in the social function and emotional health subscales.

Conclusion: The findings demonstrated that VD leads to a better physical health at 2 months after delivery and mental health at 4 months after delivery. Efforts should be made to reduce CS.

Key words: Caesarean section, delivery, Iran, mental health, postpartum, quality of life

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