Knowledge of the Birth Process Among Undergraduates: Impact of Screening of a Documentary Featuring Natural Childbirth in Low-Risk Pregnancies

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PURPOSE: Little is known about knowledge of birthing practices, among young adults in the United States; specifically, knowledge regarding the impact of these practices on mothers and newborn. Therefore, the purpose was to assess U.S. undergraduates' knowledge regarding risks of cesarean deliveries (medically indicated or not), before and after viewing a documentary featuring unmedicated vaginal birth in low-risk pregnancy and subsequent expert panel discussion.

STUDY DESIGN: Uncontrolled before/after study.

MAJOR FINDINGS: Of the 225 attendees, 206 completed the pretest (91.5%) and 163 completed the posttest (72.4%). Of the 206 completing the pretest, 152 identified as undergraduates, and 123 (80%) of these 152 completed the posttest. Results indicate exposure to the documentary and expert discussion panel resulted in significant increases in knowledge of risks of cesarean deliveries, regardless of gender. In addition, witnessing or viewing birth in the media was significantly associated, at posttest, with greater increases in knowledge of some risks.

MAIN CONCLUSION: These findings are important in light of the increasing trend in cesarean deliveries in the United States. Educating this population and providing credible information on delivery options should be informed by further research into these domains.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Childbirth is a peer-reviewed, quarterly journal publishing original research, reviews, and case studies concerned with the practice of midwifery, women's health, prenatal care, and the birth process. The journal encourages the exploration of the complex and contextual issues surrounding childbirth provision and outcomes and invites manuscripts from a wide range of clinical, theoretical, political, methodological, psychological, public health, policy, and multicultural and interdisciplinary perspectives.
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