Caesarean Sections on Request: Perceptions and Positions (1996-2008)
This thesis examines perceptions of caesarean sections on request from the mid-1990s to 2008, and in particular the meaning of the term and how this mode of delivery has affected doctors' practice, as well as the opinions of expectant mothers. Within the field of obstetrics, caesareans on request represent a highly relevant issue, not only because a quarter of all births are currently by caesarean delivery. However, despite its relevance, this topic has not yet been the subject of substantial academic research.
Caesareans on maternal request refer to caesareans with no clinical indications and thus no obvious medical justification - this fact in particular has stirred the medical world as well as evoking disputes among pregnant women. By exploring the views of medical professionals and mothers-to-be, this thesis uses an interdisciplinary approach, combining aspects of medical history and the social sciences. Furthermore, it goes beyond the clinical perspective by researching popular scientific publications, such as advice books and even debates on online forums.
The phenomenon of caesareans on request suggests a change in indications, as well as a shift from caesarean delivery as an emergency intervention to a viable option. It involves an interaction between patient autonomy, risk assessment and prevention; furthermore, obstetric behaviour and changes in medical attitudes have played their part in providing the grounds for making maternal choice possible.