The caesarean (CS) section rate varies among hospitals in Norway, and little is known about whether this is influenced by women's preferences. The aim of this study was to investigate the differences in women's preferred mode of delivery during pregnancy between five hospitals in Norway, and to relate this to the actual mode of delivery.
A prospective cohort study of 2,177 unselected pregnant women in five hospitals in Norway. Women were recruited at their standard ultrasound examinations, and data was collected through questionnaires and electronic patient charts. The exposure was a CS preference and the main outcome measure was the actual mode of delivery.
In total, 3.5% of the primiparous women and 9.6% of the multiparous women reported a preference for CS. This was associated with fear of childbirth and education between 10 and 13?years in both groups, symptoms of depression and an age over 35?years old among the primiparous women, and a previous CS and/or negative birth experience among the multiparous. The multiparous women in Drammen and Tromsø were less likely to prefer a CS, and none of the primiparous women in Tromsø preferred a CS. A total of 67.8% of those who preferred a CS gave birth with this mode of delivery.
There were significant differences between the hospitals according to the CS preference. This preference was associated with the previous obstetric history and psychological factors. Therefore, creating good birth experiences and offering women counselling may reduce the CS preference rate.