Date of Award

2004

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Lisbeth Pike

Second Advisor

Dr Paul Murphy

Abstract

Caesarean delivery accounts for approximately one in four births both in Australia and on a global level. Examination of the experience of caesarean delivery is limited, although as caesarean delivery rates are increasing, a practical understanding of the constructs surrounding surgical birth needs to be gained. This review aims to present an overview of the current literature exploring the mother's experience of caesarean delivery. The different modes of medically necessary caesarean delivery, both unplanned and planned are defined. Societal views of caesarean birth as an easier and convenient mode of delivery in comparison to vaginal birth are described and it is suggested that this perception is unjust and misrepresentative of the actual experience. The impact of delivery on appraisal of childbirth satisfaction and the incongruence between personal expectations and delivery are also explored. Psychological adjustment in the postpartum is an area of incongruent literature, although qualitative studies are defining the links between caesarean delivery and high rates of anxiety and fear. The association between caesarean delivery and postnatal depression and post traumatic stress disorder is also presented. The importance of the utilisation of qualitative and interactive research methodology to explore the experience of caesarean birth and the practical implications for psychological adjustment after caesarean delivery are discussed.

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