Date of Award

Summer 8-18-2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Cecelia Gatson Grindel

Second Advisor

Dr. Laura Kimble

Third Advisor

Dr. Sandra Hewell

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Victoria Handa


Little is known about how the decision for elective cesarean section comes about in the clinical environment. A prospective longitudinal study based on the Health Belief Model was conducted about first time mothers’ decision making processes and their health beliefs which led to their satisfaction with their decision about their mode of delivery. A convenience sample of 144 nulliparous women with singleton pregnancies and no medical indications requiring a cesarean delivery were recruited using internet based informational notices and with flyers. Women (n = 127) planning a vaginal delivery (VDMR) represented 88.2% of the sample and women (n = 17) requesting a cesarean delivery (CDMR) represented 11.8% of the sample. Data were collected during the third trimester and six weeks after the delivery using an internet-based questionnaire. Data were analyzed using t-tests and multiple linear regression to predict the effect of maternal health beliefs, maternal childbirth self efficacy, partner support, acceptance of the maternal role, and request group (VDMR vs. CDMR) on the dependent variables of maternal perception of the delivery and maternal satisfaction with her decision for the mode of delivery. Compared to women with VDMR, women with CDMR were significantly older, less educated, perceived more risk of emergent cesarean and less ability to deliver vaginally. Hypothesis testing indicated that the overall regression model did not significantly predict maternal perception of the delivery. The model accounted for a significant amount (15.1 %) of the variance in maternal satisfaction with the decision for mode of delivery. Acceptance of the maternal role and maternal request group significantly contributed to the model indicating that women with higher acceptance of the maternal role and women with CDMR had poorer satisfaction with their decision for the mode of delivery. The findings showed that factors influencing maternal perceptions of the delivery and satisfaction with the mode of delivery are different. Health beliefs had less relevance for perception of the delivery. It is possible that experiences that occur within the context of the delivery are more salient for maternal perception. Women with higher acceptance of the maternal role and who request a cesarean delivery are at risk for less satisfaction with their delivery decision and more decisional conflict and thus may need more support during decision-making processes and after delivery. Future research should examine the long-term impact of dissatisfaction with delivery decision on maternal outcomes.

Included in

Nursing Commons