Background: Over the past three decades, the World Health Organization expert panel proposed cesarean delivery rate of 10-15 percent was used as a doctrine for an optimal rate of cesarean delivery despite the lack of concrete evidence. We set out to compile cesarean delivery rates, socioeconomic indicators, and health outcomes by countries in the last three decades to explore the optimal rates for medically necessary cesarean delivery. Methods: We selected 19 countries which have readily accessible cesarean delivery and low maternal and infant mortality, including countries in North and West Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Information on cesarean delivery rate, human development index (HDI), gross domestic products (GDP), maternal, neonatal, and infant mortality rates of each country in the past 30 years was collected from published reports. A two-level fractional polynomial model was used to model the association between cesarean rate and mortality rates. Results: Most of the countries have experienced sharp increases in cesarean delivery rates. Once cesarean delivery rate reached 10 percent, with adjustment for HDI and GDP, further increase in cesarean delivery rate had no impact on maternal, neonatal, and infant mortality rates. Conclusions: Our findings corroborate the statement that a population-level cesarean section rate above 10-15 percent is hardly justified from the medical perspective.
Background: Both peer and professional support have been identified as important to the success of breastfeeding. The aim of this metasynthesis was to examine women's perceptions and experiences of breastfeeding support, either professional or peer, to illuminate the components of support that they deemed "supportive." Methods: The metasynthesis included studies of both formal or "created" peer and professional support for breastfeeding women but excluded studies of family or informal support. Qualitative studies were included as well as large-scale surveys if they reported the analysis of qualitative data gathered through open-ended responses. Primiparas and multiparas who initiated breastfeeding were included. Studies published in English, in peer-reviewed journals, and undertaken between January 1990 and December 2007 were included. After assessment for relevance and quality, 31 studies were included. Meta-ethnographic methods were used to identify categories and themes. Results: The metasynthesis resulted in four categories comprising 20 themes. The synthesis indicated that support for breastfeeding occurred along a continuum from authentic presence at one end, perceived as effective support, to disconnected encounters at the other, perceived as ineffective or even discouraging and counterproductive. A facilitative approach versus a reductionist approach was identified as contrasting styles of support that women experienced as helpful or unhelpful. Conclusions: The findings emphasize the importance of person-centered communication skills and of relationships in supporting a woman to breastfeed. Organizational systems and services that facilitate continuity of caregiver, for example continuity of midwifery care or peer support models, are more likely to facilitate an authentic presence, involving supportive care and a trusting relationship with professionals. (BIRTH 38:1 March 2011).
: Background: Despite the well-documented risk factors and health consequences of postpartum depression, it often remains undetected and untreated. No study has comprehensively examined postpartum depression help-seeking barriers, and very few studies have specifically examined the acceptability of postpartum depression treatment approaches. The objective of this study was to examine systematically the literature to identify postpartum depression help-seeking barriers and maternal treatment preferences. Methods: Medline, CINAHL, and EMBASE databases were searched using specific key words, and published peer-reviewed articles from 1966 to 2005 were scanned for inclusion criteria. Results: Of the 40 articles included in this qualitative systematic review, most studies focused on women's experiences of postpartum depression where help seeking emerged as a theme. A common help-seeking barrier was women's inability to disclose their feelings, which was often reinforced by family members and health professionals' reluctance to respond to the mothers' emotional and practical needs. The lack of knowledge about postpartum depression or the acceptance of myths was a significant help-seeking barrier and rendered mothers unable to recognize the symptoms of depression. Significant health service barriers were identified. Women preferred to have “talking therapies” with someone who was nonjudgmental rather than receive pharmacological interventions. Conclusions: These results suggest that women did not proactively seek help, and the barriers involved both maternal and health professional factors. Common themes related to specific treatment preferences emerged from women of diverse cultural backgrounds. The clinical implications outlined in this review will assist health professionals in addressing these barriers and in developing preventive and treatment interventions that are in accord with maternal preferences. (BIRTH 33:4 December 2006)
Background: Internet access and usage is almost ubiquitous, providing new opportunities and increasing challenges for health care practitioners and users. With pregnant women reportedly turning to the Internet for information during pregnancy, a better understanding of this behavior is needed. The objective of this study was to ascertain why and how pregnant women use the Internet as a health information source, and the overall effect it had on their decision making. Kuhlthau's (1993) information-seeking model was adapted to provide the underpinning theoretical framework for the study. Methods: The design was exploratory and descriptive. Data were collected using a valid and reliable web-based questionnaire. Over a 12-week period, 613 women from 24 countries who had confirmed that they had used the Internet for pregnancy-related information during their pregnancy completed and submitted a questionnaire. Results: Most women (97%) used search engines such as Google(C) to identify online web pages to access a large variety of pregnancy-related information and to use the Internet for pregnancy-related social networking, support, and electronic commerce (i.e., e-commerce). Almost 94 percent of women used the Internet to supplement information already provided by health professionals and 83 percent used it to influence their pregnancy decision making. Nearly half of the respondents reported dissatisfaction with information given by health professionals (48.6%) and lack of time to ask health professionals questions (46.5%) as key factors influencing them to access the Internet. Statistically, women's confidence levels significantly increased with respect to making decisions about their pregnancy after Internet usage (p < 0.05). Conclusions: In this study, the Internet played a significant part in the respondents' health information seeking and decision making in pregnancy. Health professionals need to be ready to support pregnant women in online data retrieval, interpretation, and application. (BIRTH 37:2 June 2010).
: Background: Perinatal depression is associated with potential negative consequences for the mother and infant, and therefore efforts to improve treatment access and efficacy are warranted. The purpose of this study was to examine pregnant women's preferences and attitudes about treatment for depression, and perceived potential barriers to accessing treatment.Methods: Data were collected by means of a questionnaire from a convenience sample of 509 predominantly well-educated, high-income, married women in the northeastern United States during the last trimester of pregnancy. Participants were queried as to treatment modalities in which they would most likely participate if they wanted help for depression, their attitudes toward psychotherapeutic and pharmacological treatments, and perceived barriers to receiving help. Results: Most women (92%) indicated that would likely participate in individual therapy if help was needed. Only 35 percent stated that they would likely take medication if recommended, and 14 percent indicated that they would participate in group therapy. The greatest perceived potential barriers to treatment were lack of time (65%), stigma (43%), and childcare issues (33%). Most women indicated a preference to receive mental health care at the obstetrics clinic, either from their obstetrics practitioner or from a mental health practitioner located at the clinic. Factors associated with acceptability of various depression treatments are presented.Conclusions: Understanding what prevents women from seeking or obtaining help for depression and determining what they prefer in the way of treatment may lead to improved depression treatment rates and hold promise for improving the overall health of childbearing women. (BIRTH 36:1 March 2009)
Background: A tradition of separation of the mother and baby after birth still persists in many parts of the world, including some parts of Russia, and often is combined with swaddling of the baby. The aim of this study was to evaluate and compare possible long-term effects on mother-infant interaction of practices used in the delivery and maternity wards, including practices relating to mother-infant closeness versus separation. Methods: A total of 176 mother-infant pairs were randomized into four experimental groups: Group I infants were placed skin-to-skin with their mothers after birth, and had rooming-in while in the maternity ward. Group II infants were dressed and placed in their mothers' arms after birth, and roomed-in with their mothers in the maternity ward. Group III infants were kept in the nursery both after birth and while their mothers were in the maternity ward. Group IV infants were kept in the nursery after birth, but roomed-in with their mothers in the maternity ward. Equal numbers of infants were either swaddled or dressed in baby clothes. Episodes of early suckling in the delivery ward were noted. The mother-infant interaction was videotaped according to the Parent-Child Early Relational Assessment (PCERA) 1 year after birth. Results: The practice of skin-to-skin contact, early suckling, or both during the first 2 hours after birth when compared with separation between the mothers and their infants positively affected the PCERA variables maternal sensitivity, infant's self-regulation, and dyadic mutuality and reciprocity at 1 year after birth. The negative effect of a 2-hour separation after birth was not compensated for by the practice of rooming-in. These findings support the presence of a period after birth (the early "sensitive period") during which close contact between mother and infant may induce long-term positive effect on mother-infant interaction. In addition, swaddling of the infant was found to decrease the mother's responsiveness to the infant, her ability for positive affective involvement with the infant, and the mutuality and reciprocity in the dyad. Conclusions: Skin-to-skin contact, for 25 to 120 minutes after birth, early suckling, or both positively influenced mother-infant interaction 1 year later when compared with routines involving separation of mother and infant.
Background: Childbirth fear is associated with increased obstetric interventions and poor emotional and psychological health for women. The purpose of this study is to test an antenatal psycho-education intervention by midwives in reducing women's childbirth fear. Methods: Women (n = 1,410) attending three hospitals in South East Queensland, Australia, were recruited into the BELIEF trial. Participants reporting high fear were randomly allocated to intervention (n = 170) or control (n = 169) groups. All women received a decision-aid booklet on childbirth choices. The telephone counseling intervention was offered at 24 and 34 weeks of pregnancy. The control group received usual care offered by public maternity services. Primary outcome was reduction in childbirth fear (WDEQ-A) from second trimester to 36 weeks' gestation. Secondary outcomes were improved childbirth self-efficacy, and reduced decisional conflict and depressive symptoms. Demographic, obstetric & psychometric measures were administered at recruitment, and 36 weeks of pregnancy. Results: There were significant differences between groups on postintervention scores for fear of birth (p < 0.001) and childbirth self-efficacy (p = 0.002). Decisional conflict and depressive symptoms reduced but were not significant. Conclusion: Psycho-education by trained midwives was effective in reducing high childbirth fear levels and increasing childbirth confidence in pregnant women. Improving antenatal emotional well-being may have wider positive social and maternity care implications for optimal childbirth experiences.
BackgroundFew studies have examined the mode of birth among women with fear of childbirth, and the results are conflicting. The objective of this study was to assess the association between fear of childbirth and cesarean delivery in North European women. MethodsA longitudinal cohort study was conducted among 6,422 pregnant women from Belgium, Iceland, Denmark, Estonia, Norway, and Sweden. Fear of childbirth was measured by the Wijma Delivery Expectancy Questionnaire during pregnancy and linked to obstetric information from hospital records. ResultsAmong 3,189 primiparous women, those reporting severe fear of childbirth were more likely to give birth by elective cesarean, (OR, 1.66 [95% CI 1.05-2.61]). Among 3,233 multiparous women, severe fear of childbirth increased the risk of elective cesarean (OR 1.87 [95% CI 1.30-2.69]). Reporting lack of positive anticipation, one of six dimensions of fear of childbirth, was most strongly associated with elective cesarean (OR 2.02 [95% CI 1.52-2.68]). A dose-effect pattern was observed between level of fear and risk of emergency cesarean in both primiparous and multiparous women. Indications for cesarean were more likely to be reported as nonmedical among those with severe fear of childbirth; 16.7 versus 4.6 percent in primiparous women, and 31.7 versus 17.5 percent in multiparous women. ConclusionHaving severe fear of childbirth increases the risk of elective cesarean, especially among multiparous women. Lack of positive anticipation of the upcoming childbirth seems to be an important dimension of fear associated with cesarean delivery. Counseling for women who do not look forward to vaginal birth should be further evaluated.
Background: Midwives in Ontario, Canada, provide care in the home and hospital and are required to submit data for all births to the Ontario Ministry of Health database. The purpose of this study was to compare maternal and perinatal/neonatal mortality and morbidity and intrapartum intervention rates for women attended by Ontario midwives who planned a home birth compared with similar low-risk women who planned a hospital birth between 2003 and 2006. Methods: The database provided outcomes for all women planning a home birth at the onset of labor (n = 6,692) and for a cohort, stratified by parity, of similar low-risk women planning a hospital birth. Results: The rate of perinatal and neonatal mortality was very low (1/1,000) for both groups, and no difference was shown between groups in perinatal and neonatal mortality or serious morbidity (2.4% vs 2.8%; relative risk [RR], 95% confidence intervals [CI]: 0.84 [0.68-1.03]). No maternal deaths were reported. All measures of serious maternal morbidity were lower in the planned home birth group as were rates for all interventions including cesarean section (5.2% vs 8.1%; RR [95% CI]: 0.64 [0.56, 0.73]). Nulliparas were less likely to deliver at home, and had higher rates of ambulance transport from home to hospital than multiparas planning home birth and had rates of intervention and outcomes similar to, or lower than, nulliparas planning hospital births.Conclusions: Midwives who were integrated into the health care system with good access to emergency services, consultation, and transfer of care provided care resulting in favorable outcomes for women planning both home or hospital births.
Background: Cesarean delivery rates have been rising rapidly in many countries in the last decade. The objective of this research is to examine cesarean rates in industrialized countries and assess patterns in the trends toward increasing rates. Methods: We examined cesarean delivery rates per 1,000 live births from 1987 to 2007 in 22 industrialized countries. To enhance comparability, the inclusion criteria were at least 50,000 births annually and a per capita gross domestic product of at least U.S.$10,000 in 2007. Poisson regression was selected to model the cesarean delivery rates of countries across time. Results: We examined overall cesarean delivery rates, absolute changes in these rates, and changes in trend lines for cesarean rates for the period from 1987 to 2007. In 2007, 11 of the 21 countries reported overall cesarean rates of more than 25 percent, led by Italy (39%), Portugal (35%), the United States (32%), and Switzerland (32%). Five countries, the Slovak Republic, Czech Republic, Ireland, Austria, and Hungary more than doubled their cesarean delivery rate between 1992 and 2007. Comparing changes in rates across time periods, 14 countries experienced a greater increase in rates in the period between 1998 and 2002 compared with the period between 1993 and 1997. Comparing trends from 2003–2007 to 1998–2002, eighteen countries experienced a slowing down of rate increases across these two periods. Conclusion: Although cesarean delivery rates continue to rise, the rate of increase appears to be slowing down in most industrialized countries. (BIRTH 38:2 June 2011)
Background: The most recent review on men's transition to fatherhood was published in 1986. The present paper reports on how the literature has portrayed fatherhood over the past 20 years. The aim was to investigate men's psychological transition to fatherhood from pregnancy of the partner through the infant's first year of life. Methods: The PsycINFO, PubMed, MEDLINE, Ingenta, Ovid, EMBASE, and WoS databases were accessed to conduct a literature search on the topic. The concepts of self-image transformation, triadic relationship development, and social environment influence were used to examine the complexity of the fatherhood transition process. Specific focus was placed on men's intrapsychic relational and social dimensions. Results: Our analysis of the yielded results revealed three specific fatherhood stages: prenatal, labor and birth, and postnatal periods. Partner pregnancy was found to be the most demanding period in terms of psychological reorganization of the self. Labor and birth were the most intensely emotional moments, and the postnatal period was most influenced by environmental factors. The latter was also experienced as being the most interpersonally and intrapersonally challenging in terms of coping with the new reality of being a father. Conclusions: Men's transition to fatherhood is guided by the social context in which they live and work and by personal characteristics in interplay with the quality of the partner relationship. Men struggle to reconcile their personal and work-related needs with those of their new families.
Background: The increasing pregnancy rate at advanced maternal age is contemporaneous will? the increasing rate of cesarean birth. Several studies have found that advanced maternal age is a risk factor for cesarean birth. The objective of this systematic review was to assess the relationship between advanced maternal age and cesarean birth among nulliparous and multiparous women. Methods: To identify relevant studies, we searched the literature for articles published from January 1, 1995 to March I, 2008, using Medline, EMBASE, PsychINFO, and CINAHL We also hand-searched the bibliographies of retrieved articles to identify additional related studie.s. We included all cohort studies and all case-control studies that examined this association in developed countries. The Cochrane Collaboration's Review Manager software (5.0) was used to summarize the data. Results: Twenty-one studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in the review. All studies demonstrated an increased risk of cesarean birth among women at advanced maternal age compared with younger women, for both nullipams and multiparas (relative risk varied from 1.39 to 2.76). Because we found extreme heterogeneity (both statistical and clinical) among the included studies, we did not provide a pooled estimate of the risk of cesarean birth. Conclusions: All included studies illustrated an increased risk of cesarean birth among older women. Fifteen studies adjusted this association for potential con founders, which suggests that a valid and independent association is likely to exist between advanced maternal age and cesarean birth. However, the associated factors for this increased risk are not totally understood in the literature. (BIRTH 37:3 September 2010)
Background: Prevalence rates of women in community samples who screened positive for meeting the DSM‐IV criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder after childbirth range from 1.7 to 9 percent. A positive screen indicates a high likelihood of this postpartum anxiety disorder. The objective of this analysis was to examine the results that focus on the posttraumatic stress disorder data obtained from a two‐stage United States national survey conducted by Childbirth Connection: Listening to Mothers II (LTM II) and Listening to Mothers II Postpartum Survey (LTM II/PP) . Methods: In the LTM II study, 1,373 women completed the survey online, and 200 mothers were interviewed by telephone. The same mothers were recontacted and asked to complete a second questionnaire 6 months later and of those, 859 women completed the online survey and 44 a telephone interview. Data obtained from three instruments are reported in this article: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Scale‐Self Report (PSS‐SR), Postpartum Depression Screening Scale (PDSS), and the Patient Health Questionnaire‐2 (PHQ‐2). Results: Nine percent of the sample screened positive for meeting the diagnostic criteria of posttraumatic stress disorder after childbirth as determined by responses on the PSS‐SR. A total of 18 percent of women scored above the cutoff score on the PSS‐SR, which indicated that they were experiencing elevated levels of posttraumatic stress symptoms. The following variables were significantly related to elevated posttraumatic stress symptoms levels: low partner support, elevated postpartum depressive symptoms, more physical problems since birth, and less health‐promoting behaviors. In addition, eight variables significantly differentiated women who had elevated posttraumatic stress symptom levels from those who did not: no private health insurance, unplanned pregnancy, pressure to have an induction and epidural analgesia, planned cesarean birth, not breastfeeding as long as wanted, not exclusively breastfeeding at 1 month, and consulting with a clinician about mental well‐being since birth. A stepwise multiple regression revealed that two predictor variables significantly explained 55 percent of the variance in posttraumatic stress symptom scores: depressive symptom scores on the PHQ‐2 and total number of physical symptoms women were experiencing at the time they completed the LTM II/PP survey. Conclusion: In this two‐stage national survey the high percentage of mothers who screened positive for meeting all the DSM‐IV criteria for a posttraumatic stress disorder diagnosis is a sobering statistic. (BIRTH 38:3 September 2011)
Despite decades of considerable economic investment in improving the health of families and newborns world‐wide, aspirations for maternal and newborn health have yet to be attained in many regions. The global turn toward recognizing the importance of positive experiences of pregnancy, intrapartum and postnatal care, and care in the first weeks of life, while continuing to work to minimize adverse outcomes, signals a critical change in the maternal and newborn health care conversation and research prioritization. This paper presents “different research questions” drawing on evidence presented in the 2014 Lancet Series on Midwifery and a research prioritization study conducted with the World Health Organization. The results indicated that future research investment in maternal and newborn health should be on “right care,” which is quality care that is tailored to individuals, weighs benefits and harms, is person‐centered, works across the whole continuum of care, advances equity, and is informed by evidence, including cost‐effectiveness. Three inter‐related research themes were identified: examination and implementation of models of care that enhance both well‐being and safety; investigating and optimizing physiological, psychological, and social processes in pregnancy, childbirth, and the postnatal period; and development and validation of outcome measures that capture short and longer term well‐being. New, transformative research approaches should account for the underlying social and political‐economic mechanisms that enhance or constrain the well‐being of women, newborns, families, and societies. Investment in research capacity and capability building across all settings is critical, but especially in those countries that bear the greatest burden of poor outcomes. We believe this call to action for investment in the three research priorities identified in this paper has the potential to achieve these benefits and to realize the ambitions of Sustainable Development Goal Three of good health and well‐being for all.
Background: Women need access to evidence‐based information to make informed choices in pregnancy. A search for health information is one of the major reasons that people worldwide access the Internet. Recent years have witnessed an increase in Internet usage by women seeking pregnancy‐related information. The aim of this study was to build on previous quantitative studies to explore women’s experiences and perceptions of using the Internet for retrieving pregnancy‐related information, and its influence on their decision‐making processes. Methods: This global study drew on the interpretive qualitative traditions together with a theoretical model on information seeking, adapted to understand Internet use in pregnancy and its role in relation to decision‐making. Thirteen asynchronous online focus groups across five countries were conducted with 92 women who had accessed the Internet for pregnancy‐related information over a 3‐month period. Data were readily transferred and analyzed deductively. Results: The overall analysis indicates that the Internet is having a visible impact on women’s decision making in regards to all aspects of their pregnancy. The key emergent theme was the great need for information. Four broad themes also emerged: “validate information,”“empowerment,”“share experiences,” and “assisted decision‐making.” Women also reported how the Internet provided support, its negative and positive aspects, and as a source of accurate, timely information. Conclusion: Health professionals have a responsibility to acknowledge that women access the Internet for support and pregnancy‐related information to assist in their decision‐making. Health professionals must learn to work in partnership with women to guide them toward evidence‐based websites and be prepared to discuss the ensuing information. (BIRTH 38:4 December 2011)
Background: Out-of-hospital births are increasing in the United States. Our purpose was to examine trends in out-of-hospital births from 2004 to 2014, and to analyze newly available data on risk status and access to care. Methods: Newly available data from the revised birth certificate for 47 states and Washington, DC, were used to examine out-of-hospital births by characteristics and to compare them with hospital births. Trends from 2004 to 2014 were also examined. Results: Out-of-hospital births increased by 72 percent, from 0.87 percent of United States births in 2004 to 1.50 percent in 2014. Compared with mothers who had hospital births, those with out-of-hospital births had lower prepregnancy obesity (12.5% vs 25.0%) and smoking (2.8% vs 8.5%) rates, and higher college graduation (39.3% vs 30.0%) and breastfeeding initiation (94.3% vs 80.8%) rates. Among planned home births, 67.1 percent were self-paid, compared with 31.9 percent of birth center and 3.4 percent of hospital births. Vaginal births after cesarean (VBACs) comprised 4.6 percent of planned home births and 1.6 percent of hospital and birth center births. Sociodemographic and medical risk status of out-of-hospital births improved substantially from 2004 to 2014. Conclusions: Improvements in risk status of out-of-hospital births from 2004 to 2014 suggest that appropriate selection of low-risk women is improving. High rates of self-pay for the costs of out-of-hospital birth suggest serious gaps in insurance coverage, whereas higher-than-average rates of VBAC could reflect lack of access to hospital VBACs. Mandating private insurance and Medicaid coverage could substantially improve access to out-of-hospital births. Improving access to hospital VBACs might reduce the number of out-ofhospital VBACs. (BIRTH 43: 2 June 2016)
: Background: Cesarean section rates show a wide variation among countries in the world, ranging from 0.4 to 40 percent, and a continuous rise in the trend has been observed in the past 30 years. Our aim was to explore the association of cesarean section rates of different countries with their maternal and neonatal mortality and to test the hypothesis that in low-income countries, increasing cesarean section rates were associated with reductions in both outcomes, whereas in high-income countries, such association did not exist. Methods: We performed a cross-sectional multigroup ecological study using data from 119 countries from 1991 to 2003. These countries were classified into 3 categories: low-income (59 countries), medium-income (31 countries), and high-income (29 countries) countries according to an international classification. We assessed the ecological association between national cesarean section rates and maternal and neonatal mortality by fitting multiple linear regression models. Results: Median cesarean section rates were lower in low-income than in medium- and high-income countries. Seventy-six percent of the low-income countries, 16 percent of the medium-income countries, and 3 percent of high-income countries showed cesarean section rates between 0 and 10 percent. Three percent of low-income countries, 36 percent of medium-income countries, and 31 percent of high-income countries showed cesarean section rates above 20 percent. In low-income countries, a negative and statistically significant linear correlation was observed between cesarean section rates and neonatal mortality and between cesarean section rates and maternal mortality. No association was observed in medium- and high-income countries for either neonatal mortality or maternal mortality. Conclusions: No association between cesarean section rates and maternal or neonatal mortality was shown in medium- and high-income countries. Thus, it becomes relevant for future good-quality research to assess the effect of the high figures of cesarean section rates on maternal and neonatal morbidity. For low-income countries, and on confirmation by further research, making cesarean section available for high-risk pregnancies could contribute to improve maternal and neonatal outcomes, whereas a system of care with cesarean section rates below 10 percent would be unlikely to cover their needs. (BIRTH 33:4 December 2006)
Background: Cesarean delivery has negative effects on breastfeeding. The objective of this study was to evaluate breastfeeding rates, defined in accordance with World Health Organization guidelines, from delivery to 6 months postpartum in infants born by elective and emergency cesarean section and in infants born vaginally. Methods: Delivery modalities were assessed in relation to breastfeeding patterns in 2,137 term infants delivered at a tertiary center, the Padua University School of Medicine in northeastern Italy, from January to December 2007. The study population included 677 (31.1%) newborns delivered by cesarean section, 398 (18.3%) by elective cesarean, 279 (12.8%) by emergency cesarean section, and 1,496 (68.8%) delivered vaginally. Results: Breastfeeding prevalence in the delivery room was significantly higher after vaginal delivery compared with that after cesarean delivery (71.5% vs 3.5%, p < 0.001), and a longer interval occurred between birth and first breastfeeding in the newborns delivered by cesarean section (mean +/- SD, hours, 3.1 +/- 5 vs 10.4 +/- 9, p < 0.05). No difference was found in breastfeeding rates between the elective and emergency cesarean groups. Compared with elective cesarean delivery, vaginal delivery was associated with a higher breastfeeding rate at discharge and at the subsequent follow-up steps (7 days, 3 mo, and 6 mo of life). Conclusions: Emergency and elective cesarean deliveries are similarly associated with a decreased rate of exclusive breastfeeding compared with vaginal delivery. The inability of women who have undergone a cesarean section to breastfeed comfortably in the delivery room and in the immediate postpartum period seems to be the most likely explanation for this association. (BIRTH 37:4 December 2010).
BackgroundThere is inconsistent evidence about the effect of physical activity on the prevention and treatment of depression during the postnatal period. The aim of this meta-analysis was to determine the effect of physical activity interventions during pregnancy and the postpartum period for controlling postpartum depressive symptoms. MethodsWe systematically searched Cochrane Library Plus, Science Direct, EMBASE, CINAHL, PubMed, Web of Science, and Scopus, from January 1990 to May 2016, for randomized or nonrandomized controlled trials addressing the effect of physical activity on postpartum depression. The inverse variance-weighted method was used to compute pooled estimates of effect size and respective 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) for physical activity intervention on postpartum depression. Subgroup analyses were performed comparing women with and without postpartum depressive symptoms according to specific scales measuring this construct. Meta-regression and sensitivity analysis were computed to evaluate heterogeneity. ResultsTwelve studies were included in the meta-analysis. Effect size for the relationship between physical activity interventions during pregnancy and the postpartum period on postpartum depressive symptoms was 0.41 (95% CI 0.28-0.54). Heterogeneity was I-2=33.1% (P=.117). When subgroup analyses were done, pooled effect sizes were 0.67 (95% CI 0.44-0.90) for mothers who met postpartum depressive symptoms criteria at baseline based on specific scales, and 0.29 (95% CI 0.14-0.45) for mothers who did not meet those depressive symptoms criteria at baseline. ConclusionPhysical exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period is a safe strategy to achieve better psychological well-being and to reduce postpartum depressive symptoms.