P-109: Cultural Beliefs and Values in Relation to Women’s Preferred Mode of Birth in The North of Iran
Pregnant women rely heavily on informal information while making decision on the mode of delivery, either as normal vaginal delivery (NVD) or cesarean section (CS). Through recognition of social attitudes towards different modes of delivery, societies can be directed towards a positive understanding of vaginal delivery, which can ultimately lead to maternal health promotion. Thus, this study aimed to explore common beliefs, values and traditions regarding women�s preferred mode of birth in the North of Iran.
Materials and methods
Using a focused ethnographic approach twelve pregnant women, 10 women with previous experience of childbirth, seven midwives, seven obstetricians, and nine non-pregnant women were included in this study through a purposeful sampling in health clinics of Tonekabon in the North of Iran. Semi-structured interviews and participant observations were used for data collection. Studyrigor was confirmed through prolonged engagement, member check, expert debriefing, and thick description of the data. Data were analysed using Braun and Clarke thematic analysis (2006) and MAXqda software.
Through analysis, three major themes and 10 subthemes emerged. They included: 1. sociocultural childbirth beliefs with five subthemes of CS as protector of genital tract integrity, blind imitation in choosing mode of birth, NVD as a low cost type of delivery, CS as prestigious mode of birth and NVD as a symbol of woman's power and ability; 2. traditional health beliefs with two subthemes of NVD as a guarantee for woman's health and traditional childbirth facilitators; and 3. religious beliefs and values with three subthemes of NVD as a symbol of God's power, call for help from the Mighty God and NVD as a sacred phenomenon.
The results of this study indicated that cultural beliefs, values and traditions can significantly affect individuals’ attitudes towards mode of delivery, their definitions of different modes, and the decisions they make in this regard. In order to develop a positive cultural and religious attitude towards vaginal delivery, awareness has to be raised through various ways, and the existing misconceptions should be corrected.