Patient Choice Cesarean—The Maine Experience
Background: Patient choice cesarean refers to elective primary cesarean in the absence of a medical or obstetrical indication. The purpose of this study was to determine obstetricians’ attitudes and practices with respect to patient choice cesarean in Maine, United States. Methods: A questionnaire was sent to all Maine Fellows of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists actively practicing obstetrics, after receiving institutional review exemption. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Fisher exact, or chi‐square tests. Results: Seventy‐eight of 110 (70.9%) obstetricians responded. Of these, 60 of 71 (84.5%) respondents performed or were willing to perform patient choice cesarean. However, 15 of 71 (21.1%) preferred a cesarean delivery for themselves (women) or partners (men). Indications included urinary continence (53.3%), adverse previous birth experience (41.7%), anal continence (35.0%), concern for fetal death or injury (33.3%), and fear of childbirth, preservation of sexual function, or pelvic organ prolapse (26.7% each). Less frequent were pain (11.7%), convenience (8.3%), and provider availability (10.0%). In addition, 82.1 percent believed medical evidence and 85.9 percent believed ethical issues sometimes or always supported patient choice cesarean. Responses were similar by gender, age, and time interval from training completion with two exceptions. Women under age 35 years were more likely to opt for a cesarean delivery themselves (p = 0.04), and 42.9 percent of respondents under age 35 years interpreted the medical literature as supporting cesarean in all cases versus 4.2 percent of older colleagues (p = 0.008). Sixty‐four of 78 (82.1%) respondents would find a randomized trial of planned vaginal versus planned cesarean delivery helpful in addressing the issue of patient choice cesarean. Conclusions: Although Maine obstetricians were willing to perform patient choice cesarean, few preferred this delivery mode for themselves or their partners. A randomized trial of planned vaginal versus planned cesarean delivery is highly desired.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Maine Medical Center, Portland, Maine, United States.
Publication date: 2005-09-01