Journal of Nursing

Women's Decision-Making Process of Childbirth Methods

Leixi Li, Wenlin Wan


Background: At normal situation, vaginal delivery is recommended to pregnant females who are at low risk of complications. Recently, there is a widespread discussion about the right of the women in choosing their childbirth methods, specifically cesarean section. Aim: We designated to critically discuss the ethical argument on female’s choice of childbirth method as well as the influential factors involved in their decision-making process. Methods: A comprehensive discussion relying on systematic literature reviews was conducted to address the ethics, policies, safety, and suggestions for the choice of childbirth approach. Findings: Most women would like to have the freedom in selecting the delivery method, whereas the decision-making process is complicated and multifactorial and needs to coordinate with safety issues, opinions from family members, and recommendations from doctors. Discussion: No evidences could define the safest fetal delivery method. However, in consideration of both the equality and ethical principle, obstetricians should respect the women’s autonomy while obligate to refuse their requests to lower the risk of both the mother and infant. The establishment of trust, exchange of information, fully consideration of all factors, and legal protection can ensure doctors helping the mothers to make the best decision for childbirth approach. Conclusion: The decision-making process for determining the childbirth method depends on the balance among females’ autonomy, family’s suggestions, obstetrician’s obligation, and legal protection of the doctor.


Decision-Making; Childbirth Method; Clinical Ethic

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