Tensions and interplay: A qualitative study of access to patient-centered birth counseling of maternal cesarean requests in Norway
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionMidwifery. 2020, 88, 102764. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.midw.2020.102764
Objective: This study aimed to explore women's access to patient-centered counseling for concerns initiating cesarean requests in absence of obstetric indications in pregnancy, and to identify tensions, barriers and facilitators affecting such care. Design, setting and informants: This qualitative study (June 2016 to August 2017) obtained data through semi-structured in-depth interviews with 17 women requesting planned C-section during birth counseling at a university hospital in Norway and focus group discussions with 20 caregivers (9 midwives and 11 obstetricians) employed at the same hospital. Analysis was carried out by systematic text condensation, a method for thematic analysis in medical research, presented within the frames of Levesque and colleagues’ conceptual framework of access to patient-centered care. Findings: The analysis revealed that there were considerable tensions in care seeking and provision of counseling for maternal requests for C-section. There was a prominent culture of vaginal delivery among caregivers and women. The appropriateness of CS on maternal request was debated and caregivers revealed diverging attitudes and practices when agreement with women was not reached. Women's views on their entitlement to choose were divided, but the majority of women did not support complete maternal choice. Midwife-led counseling were highly appreciated among woman as well as obstetricians. Implications for practice: Tensions and barriers in care seeking and provision of counseling for women requesting C-section for non-obstetric reasons, call for standardized counseling in order for equal and adequate care to be provided across health care institutions and providers. Dialogue-based decision-making and midwife-led care may improve satisfaction of care, enhance spontaneous vaginal deliveries and avoid future conflicts.