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Influences on vaginal birth after caesarean section: A qualitative study of Taiwanese women

Chen, Mei-Man; McKellar, Lois; Pincombe, Jan


Mei-Man Chen

Jan Pincombe


Vaginal birth is a safe mode of birth for most women who have had a prior caesarean with a transverse incision. Despite the evidence, most Taiwanese women who have had a previous caesarean are rarely offered the opportunity to consider any possibility other than a repeat caesarean.

This study explored factors affecting Taiwanese women’s decisionmaking regarding vaginal birth after cesarean.

Ajzen’s Theory of Planned Behaviour provided the theoretical framework to underpin the study, which adopted an interpretive descriptive methodology. Sequential semi-structured interviews were conducted with 29 women who had a previous caesarean and were pregnant between 34 and 38 weeks gestation, ten women who attempted vaginal birth in the third to fifth day postpartum, and 25 women in the fourth week postpartum. Boyatzis’ method of thematic analysis was used to identify themes and codes.

This paper reports the findings of the prenatal interviews with 29 participants. The major factor influencing women’s decision-making was to avoid negative outcomes for themselves and their babies. Three thematic codes describe influences on the women’s decisions: ‘past experience of childbirth’, ‘anticipating the next experience of normal birth’ and ‘contemplation on the process of childbirth’.

Women who have had a previous caesarean section are prepared to have a vaginal birth but are not always supported to carry out this decision. Changing the models of antenatal care is recommended as a strategy to overcome this difficulty therefore empowering women to make a meaningful choice about VBAC after a CS.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 19, 2016
Online Publication Date Nov 3, 2016
Publication Date 2017-04
Deposit Date Sep 14, 2022
Journal Women and Birth
Print ISSN 1871-5192
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 30
Issue 2
Pages e132-e139
Keywords Caesarean section, Vaginal birth after cesarean, Decision-making, Qi, Theory of Planned Behaviour
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