A knowledge gap exists around midwives' and obstetricians' mode of delivery in comparison to the general population, and if their personal experience influences their attitudes towards different modes of delivery.
The aim of the present study was to investigate midwives' and obstetricians' mode of delivery compared to the population at large. The second aim was to see if their mode of delivery had been influenced by the expanded indications for caesarean section as described in medical literature. Thirdly, the differences between obstetricians' and midwifes' attitudes to caesarean section on maternal request was investigated.
Textbooks from midwifery education and medical schools were reviewed using a structured protocol. A questionnaire for midwives and obstetricians containing questions on mode of delivery, attitudes towards patients' autonomy and performing caesarean sections on maternal request was sent to 380 midwives and 97 obstetricians born in 1935, 1955 or 1975 with an invitation to participate in the study. Two hundred and sixty three midwives and 55 obstetricians provided completed responses.
The review of textbooks identified that the number of indications for caesarean section has increased. Indications for caesarean section increased in medical textbooks from seven in the oldest books, from year 1955, to 11 in the textbook from 1993. The focus has shifted in more recently published textbooks to prevention of fatal deliveries. In earlier obstetric care they tend to learn to solve the catastrophe when it had occurred. No significant relationship between midwives' and obstetricians; own mode of delivery and their attitudes towards performing a caesarean section on maternal request (p?=?0.191) was found. Thirty percent of the obstetricians reported that they would perform a caesarean section if the pregnant woman requested one. The study found a significant difference between the professions in the statement "the proportion of caesarean section is too high" where midwives to a greater extent agreed with the statement (p?=?0.033). There were no significant differences between caesarean section as the mode of delivery for midwives and obstetricians as compared to the general population. Midwives born in 1975 had significantly lower rate of instrumental births compared to the population at large (p?