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Open Access Research article

Medical students’ personal choice for mode of delivery in Santa Catarina, Brazil: a cross-sectional, quantitative study

Tatiane Watanabe1, Roxana Knobel2, Guilherme Suchard1, Mario Julio Franco2, Eleonora d’Orsi3, Elenice Bertanha Consonni4* and Marcos Consonni5

Author Affiliations

1 Medical student, University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), Florianópolis, Brazil

2 Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), Florianópolis, Brazil

3 Departament of Public Health, University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), Florianópolis, Brazil

4 Department of Neurology, Psychology and Psychiatry, Botucatu School of Medicine, Universidade Estadual Paulista (Unesp), Botucatu, Brazil

5 Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Botucatu School of Medicine, Universidade Estadual Paulista (Unesp), Botucatu, Brazil

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BMC Medical Education 2012, 12:57  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-12-57

Published: 20 July 2012

Abstract

Background

The increase in overall rates of cesarean sections (CS) in Brazil causes concern and it appears that multiple factors are involved in this fact. In 2009, undergraduate students in the first and final years of medical school at the University of Santa Catarina answered questionnaires regarding their choice of mode of delivery. The aim of the study was to evaluate whether the education process affects decision-making regarding the waay of childbirth preferred by medical students.

Methods

A cross-sectional, quantitative study was conducted based on data obtained from questionnaires applied to medical students. The questions addressed four different scenarios in childbirth, as follows: under an uneventful pregnancy; the mode of delivery for a pregnant woman under their care; the best choice as a healthcare manager and lastly, choosing the birth of their own child. For each circumstance, there was an open question to explain their choice.

Results

A total of 189 students answered the questionnaires. For any uneventful pregnancy and for a pregnant woman under their care, 8.46% of the students would opt for CS. As a healthcare manager, only 2.64% of the students would recommend CS. For these three scenarios, the answers of the students in the first year did not differ from those given by students in the sixth year. In the case of the student’s own or a partner’s pregnancy, 41.4% of those in the sixth year and 16.8% of those in the first year would choose a CS. A positive association was found between being a sixth year student and a personal preference for CS according to logistic regression (OR = 2.91; 95%CI: 1.03–8.30). Pain associated with vaginal delivery was usually the reason for choosing a CS.

Conclusions

A higher number of sixth year students preferred a CS for their own pregnancy (or their partner’s) compared to first year students. Pain associated with vaginal delivery was the most common reason given for haven chosen a CS. The students’ preference for childbirth changed over time during their graduation in favor of cesarean sections. This finding deserves considerable attention when structuring medical education in Obstetrics.

Keywords:
Cesarean section; Women’s healthcare; Medical education; Obstetrics