Psychological distress and unanticipated cesarean sections on primiparous women

Wendy Ruth Quinn (2000)

Until this decade, researchers had found that women were significantly more distressed about having cesarean deliveries as compared to those women who delivered vaginally. In this past decade, some researchers have observed that childbearing women were significantly less distressed with their cesareans. Noting this shift in findings, this study was undertaken to further investigate women's psychological responses to unanticipated cesareans. Eighty-one primiparous women participated in the study. They responded to several questionnaires which measured psychological distress pre and post delivery. The data was analyzed using t-tests, chi-square analysis and analysis of variance. It was found that women did not report feeling distressed about their cesareans per se, but did report feeling significantly distressed about being separated from their newborns at birth and about having physical difficulties caring for them post surgery. Further, the study found that prior to labor all the women, regardless of type of delivery, experienced levels of psychological distress that were elevated well above the norm for non-patient adult females. The study also found that, though these levels of distress diminished significantly for both groups two to three weeks after delivery, the distress levels for both groups continued to be elevated above the norm.