Researchers interviewed 27 women who had undergone operative delivery in the second stage of labour at two UK hospitals between 2000 and 2002.
Many women felt unprepared for operative delivery and thought that their birth plan or antenatal classes had not catered adequately for this event. "The emotional impact of the caesarean just wasn't dealt with anywhere," said one woman. Operative delivery also had a noticeable impact on women's views about future pregnancy and delivery.
Some had difficulty understanding the need for operative delivery, despite a review by medical and midwifery staff before discharge. Many would welcome an in-depth explanation of the delivery when they had recovered from the initial trauma of childbirth.
Maternal satisfaction with the birth experience must now be addressed, even within the context of adverse clinical events, say the authors.
Improvements in antenatal preparation for delivery, a realistic approach to the birth plan, and effective postnatal review are good places to start, they conclude.