Women’s Experience of Unexpected Caesarean Section Birth in Kitui County, Kenya
Kimanthi, Zipporah Kasyoka
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Background: Caesarean Section (CS) is a life-saving procedure for both mother and baby. It accounts for 18.5 million births globally which is approximately 18.6% of all births (World Health Organization (WHO), 2015).Women lived experiences of unexpected caesarean section are often described as less favorable than vaginal birth or planned caesarean section. Midwife care for women with deviations from a normal birth process is currently challenging. Studies describing the experience of unexpected caesarean birth by mothers exist with none of the experience documented from Kitui County, Kenya. Objective: The study explored the lived experience of undergoing an unexpected caesarean section and the mother's cultural beliefs on the experiences of childbirth. Methods: Descriptive phenomenology design was used with purposive sampling method being used to select 15 participants who had experienced unexpected caesarean birth. Data collection was one through audiotaped 30 minutes interviews for each of the participant. The interview was analyzed using Colaizzi's method of data analysis. Results: The study emerged with eight themes and four subthemes which described the lived experience of childbirth and cultural beliefs among mothers who had unexpected CS. The themes identified included; fear, self-care deficit, worry, shattered expectations, positivism, regaining joy after CS, belief and misconception, and consequences of beliefs and misconceptions. Conclusions: The study concludes that women from Kitui County experience many negative perceptions following unexpected CS birth. These perceptions include; disruption of birth plans, dissatisfaction with the birth process and unmet birth expectations. Healthcare workers including doctors and midwives should be more sensitive when informing mothers of the unplanned CS. They should provide mothers with enough knowledge including eventualities that may crop up during the labour process to allow understanding of the eventualities of labour. They should also identify methods and means of alleviating fear and worry among mothers who are to undergo unplanned CS. Mothers support groups should be developed to allow mentoring of new CS mothers by experienced and competent mothers. Information regarding pregnancy, labour and puerperium should be availed to pregnant mothers. This will help to clear the mothers' doubts, demystify misconceptions and beliefs associated with CS birth and reduce fears related to the unexpected CS birth.