An exploratory study of mothers perceptions and experiences of an unplanned Caesarean section
Objective The present study aimed to explore women's perceptions and experiences of childbirth by unplanned Caesarean section. Background New motherhood is characterised as a profound change, and research suggests that the psychological effects of childbirth can be significant and far–reaching for some women. The processes occurring during a traumatic birth experience could affect a woman's emotional and psychological state, and she may experience considerable adjustment difficulties in adapting to unfulfilled expectations of delivering her baby naturally. Methods In–depth interviews explored 10 women's lived experiences of childbirth, after which thematic content analysis was used to synthesise data. The elements of phenomenological theory served as a broad framework for the structuring, organizing and categorizing of data, with interpretation aimed at gaining a greater understanding of women's internalised childbirth accounts. Findings Women described their contact with medical personnel, as well as the physical, environmental, and emotional aspects of their unplanned Caesarean sections, as distressing and traumatic. A sense of loss of control was the most significant contributor to women's negative childbirth experiences. Feelings of failure and disappointment were primarily related to unmet expectations and a lack of preparedness. Negative experiences were mediated by attentive caregiving, inclusion in decision–making, and support from loved ones.
- Humanities