Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Women change birth preferences throughout their pregnancy, according to study

  • Comment

Women’s preferences about the way their baby should be delivered varies throughout pregnancy, a study has shown.

The study, carried out by experts at the University of Central Lancashire and the University of Liverpool, found that women’s preferences for vaginal birth or caesarean delivery on maternal request (CDMR) were influenced by practical circumstances and changed throughout their pregnancies.

Most women preferred vaginal birth but put health concerns such as safety of the baby and circumstances such as the course of their labour, and the practices of midwives and obstetricians they encountered over preference.

The study tracked 454 women accessing NHS care for the first time, and was the first study of women’s views of CDMR in the UK to follow the same group of women from their antenatal booking appointment to 12 months after the birth.

The women were asked on a questionnaire about whether they would like a vaginal birth or via CDMR. At the stage when women booked their place in hospital, 72% wanted to give birth vaginally, but by 36 weeks this figure had increased to 80%.

The study recommends transparency of actual birth methods and that both women and clinicians should revisit options at multiple time-points.

Author, Dr. Carol Kingdon said: ‘This study has highlighted that few women may have any real choice about how they give birth in NHS maternity hospitals.’

General Secretary at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), Cathy Warwick said: ‘The RCM welcomes this important study. It highlights that the way information is given to women can have a major impact on how they choose to give birth.’

Click here for the research, which was published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs