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Type: Journal article
Title: Women’s psychosocial outcomes following an emergency caesarean section: a systematic literature review
Author: Benton, M.R.
Salter, A.
Tape, N.
Wilkinson, C.
Turnbull, D.
Citation: BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 2019; 19(1):535-1-535-24
Publisher: BioMed Central
Issue Date: 2019
ISSN: 1471-2393
Statement of
Madeleine Benton, Amy Salter, Nicole Tape, Chris Wilkinson and Deborah Turnbull
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Given the sudden and unexpected nature of an emergency caesarean section (EmCS) coupled with an increased risk of psychological distress, it is particularly important to understand the psychosocial outcomes for women. The aim of this systematic literature review was to identify, collate and examine the evidence surrounding women’s psychosocial outcomes of EmCS worldwide. METHODS: The electronic databases of EMBASE, PubMed, Scopus, and PsycINFO were searched between November 2017 and March 2018. To ensure articles were reflective of original and recently published research, the search criteria included peer-reviewed research articles published within the last 20 years (1998 to 2018). All study designs were included if they incorporated an examination of women’s psychosocial outcomes after EmCS. Due to inherent heterogeneity of study data, extraction and synthesis of both qualitative and quantitative data pertaining to key psychosocial outcomes were organised into coherent themes and analysis was attempted. RESULTS: In total 17,189 articles were identified. Of these, 208 full text articles were assessed for eligibility. One hundred forty-nine articles were further excluded, resulting in the inclusion of 66 articles in the current systematic literature review. While meta-analyses were not possible due to the nature of the heterogeneity, key psychosocial outcomes identified that were negatively impacted by EmCS included post-traumatic stress, health-related quality of life, experiences, infant-feeding, satisfaction, and self-esteem. Post-traumatic stress was one of the most commonly examined psychosocial outcomes, with a strong consensus that EmCS contributes to both symptoms and diagnosis. CONCLUSIONS: EmCS was found to negatively impact several psychosocial outcomes for women in particular post-traumatic stress. While investment in technologies and clinical practice to minimise the number of EmCSs is crucial, further investigations are needed to develop effective strategies to prepare and support women who experience this type of birth.
Keywords: Humans
Postoperative Complications
Emergency Treatment
Cesarean Section
Postoperative Period
Self Concept
Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic
Postpartum Period
Quality of Life
Young Adult
Rights: © The Author(s). 2019 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
DOI: 10.1186/s12884-019-2687-7
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Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 8
Psychology publications

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