the attitudes of two counsellors towards women requesting a caesarean section due to fear of birth were identified. One emphasised the ability to overcome any emotional obstacle to vaginal birth ('coping attitude'), and the other emphasised that the ultimate choice of mode of birth was the womans' ('autonomy attitude'). Two research questions were asked: (1) What are the predictors of change in a wish for a caesarean and of vaginal birth in women with fear of birth? (2) Does a change from an 'autonomy attitude' to a 'coping attitude' increase the number of women who change their request for a caesarean and who give birth vaginally?
the study population consisted of two samples of pregnant women with fear of birth and concurrent request for a caesarean, referred for crisis-oriented counselling at the antenatal clinic, University Hospital of North Norway between 2000-2002 (n=86) and 2004-2006 (n=107). Data were gathered from referral letters, counseling and antenatal, intra- and postpartum records.
a coping attitude of the counsellor was positively associated with change in the request for a caesarean and with vaginal birth. A change from an autonomy attitude to a coping attitude was associated with a significant increase in the percentage of women who changed their desire for a caesarean from 77 to 93, and who had a vaginal birth from 42 to 81.
a coping attitude was strongly associated with change in the desire for a caesarean and giving birth vaginally. A coping attitude can be learned through critical reflection and awareness of the counsellor's attitude, with measurable clinical results.