Place, provider and timing: Factors influencing the overuse of cesarean in low-risk primigravid women

Mary Regan, Katie Gresia McElroy, SeonYoon Chung, Elizabeth Heetderks, Erika Friedman, Meg Johantgen


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the type and timing of commonly used intrapartum clinical factors and their relationship to birth outcomes. The factors included in the analysis were type of provider (midwife or obstetrician), place of birth (home or hospital), cervical dilation on admission, and commonly used labor interventions, namely use of continuous electronic fetal monitoring, epidural anesthesia and oxytocin on the type of birth (cesarean or vaginal birth). The research question guiding the analysis was: what factors increase the likelihood of cesarean birth (CB)? The findings reported here are parts of a larger mixed methods study that used three data collection methods: a projective test, a focus group, and a semi-structured postpartum interview. The study took place in an urban area in the mid-Atlantic United States and the sample was comprised of 49 low-risk primigravid women recruited between 28-36 weeks gestation. The analysis reported here only used data from the postpartum interview. During the interview, each woman reported the events of their labor and birth that were then mapped along a timeline. The findings show that admission to hospital early in labor played a key role in increasing the number of interventions used and was associated with increased risk of CB. The small, homogenous sample limited the ability to conduct more comprehensive statistical analysis and to generalize to more diverse groups, however, the proportional differences are highly suggestive and warrant further investigation.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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