In a recent survey, hundreds of mothers shared positive and negative feelings about their cesarean birth. While traumatic and disappointing described the majority of experiences, many also expressed gratitude.
Hartford, Connecticut. March 22, 2010 – Eight hundred and sixty one women recently participated in a survey about their experiences and feelings following a cesarean birth.
The Post Cesarean Feelings Survey was created by Danielle Elwood, doula, birth advocate and blogger at Momotics.com, and Theresa Shebib co-founder of www.HealthyBabyNetwork.com, with the goal of raising awareness about the emotional impact of cesarean birth.
“With the recent controversy over bans on Vaginal Birth after Cesarean, also known as VBAC, as well as warnings in the news about cesarean births and repeat cesarean sections, we thought it would be important to release these results nationally,” said Elwood.
Of the women who were surveyed, almost half (46.8%) described their experience as traumatic, while 7.4% described it as empowering. Participants were also given an opportunity to expand on their answers and rate their emotional recovery. On a scale of 1 through 10, one being no emotional issues, and 10 being described as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the majority of the women surveyed rated their emotional recovery between 5 and 10.
“This is not surprising since many women do not go into labor expecting a cesarean,” said Shebib. “Women want to talk about their experience but fear being judged or appearing ungrateful. These experiences matter and women need support from family, friends and health care professionals following an unplanned cesarean birth.”
The birth experience impacts future birthing decisions. While many women expressed a desire to have subsequent cesareans, the majority (77.5%) would consider a VBAC for future pregnancies. Unfortunately many women also feel that their birthing options are severely restricted, even illegal in some cases, showcasing the lack of information and support available to many women regarding VBAC deliveries.
To better understand the birthing experience, the survey included questions about labor support, physical and emotional recovery, whether women felt adequately informed and respected during labor, whether they understood the risks of a cesarean, and plans for future births.
The survey results will be used to write a series of informational articles and blogs exploring the emotional impact of cesarean birth.
Momotics.com is a personally run blog entailing current events, birth education, postpartum support, and the politics of parenting maintained by Danielle Elwood, birth advocate, doula, and aspiring childbirth educator.
HealthyBabyNetwork.com is a network of websites providing services and products related to pre-conception, pregnancy and birth. HealthyBabyNetwork.com is owned and managed by Exanics.
The initial survey results are available upon request. Subsequent articles based on the response to each question of the survey will be available in coming weeks. For additional information and inquiries, please contact Danielle Elwood or Theresa Shebib.