Psychosocial influences on women's experience of planned elective cesarean section

E Keogh, S Hughes, D Ellery, C Daniel, A Holdcroft

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38 Citations (SciVal)


Objective: The Successful management of pain from normal or interventional delivery is an important part of women's experience of childbirth. Our objective was to examine psychosocial factors (expectations, control beliefs, anxiety sensitivity) as measured in mothers and birth partners before an elective cesarean section. We focused Oil the impact that these variables have on maternal fear and pain during and after delivery. Methods: Sixty-five women booked for an awake cesarean section with a regional nerve block and their birth partners were recruited. Data were collected at three time points for the mothers, before, during the cesarean section and after delivery on the postnatal ward, and at two time points for the birth partners (before and during the cesarean section). Results: Maternal fear responses varied during the operation, in that fear was greatest at the point of administration of the nerve block. Within mothers, preoperative negative expectations were related to fear experiences during delivery, which was in turn related to their postoperative pain. Maternal anxiety sensitivity was found to mediate the relationship between negative expectations and fear, whereas birth partner's fear mediated between maternal fear and postoperative pain. Mothers' prenatal perceptions of control over drugs predicted their postoperative pain. Conclusions: Maternal fear during cesarean section not only fluctuates, but may be influenced by psychosocial factors, including their birth partner. Psychosocial factors were also important predictors of postoperative experiences. Interventions that appropriately manage psychological and social factors during cesarean delivery may facilitate a more positive experience for mothers. Key words: cesarean section, pain, anxiety sensitivity, birth partner, social support, fear.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-174
Number of pages8
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Volume68 Jan-Feb
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Bibliographical note

ID number: ISI:000234936500025


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