Measuring Preferences for Childbirth After Cesarean

Project: Research project

Project Details


DESCRIPTION (PROVIDED BY APPLICANT): As cesarean birth rates continue to climb, the number of women (currently about 420,000 annually) facing the decision of whether to have a repeat cesarean or to attempt a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) will also increase. The objective of this proposed 18-month exploratory research study is to help pregnant women weigh risks and benefits in a childbirth decision using the Preferences-Assessment Computer Module developed by the principal investigator. The long-term objective of the proposed research is to understand and improve the decision-making process of these women by creating a computerized childbirth decision aid. Such decision aids provide value when the decision is complex, when the outcome is uncertain, and when people vary in how they prioritize preferences. Childbirth decisions for women with a prior cesarean meet all these criteria. No study to date quantifies how women weigh the complexities of various considerations--medical and otherwise--in the delivery decision. The proposed research is significant, therefore, in that it will provide a much-needed method to help women prioritize and weigh their preferences related to childbirth decisions. More broadly, it responds to the recent NIH and AHRQ initiatives to promote the development of computerized decision aids to improve the quality of medical decisions. A new investigator will lead a well-qualified, multidisciplined team that has expertise in decision analysis, obstetric medicine, and research methodology in pursuit of the following specific aims: 1. To validate a precise method for measuring childbirth preferences among pregnant women who are considering either a repeat cesarean or a vaginal birth after a cesarean (VBAC). During the initial phase of this study, we will verify the accuracy of the Preferences-Assessment Computer Module, measure internal consistency, and assess content validity in a cross-sectional study. 2. To test whether women who use the Preferences-Assessment Computer Module will have increased clarity about their preferences--and about the implication of those preferences--in comparison to women in a control group. We will conduct a randomized controlled trial of pregnant women with a prior cesarean. This Preferences-Assessment Computer Module is appropriate to address not only VBAC decisions, but also decisions related to elective cesareans and induction. In short, the proposed research will advance the field by improving the quality of the decision-making process for childbirth.
Effective start/end date9/1/048/31/07


  • National Institutes of Health


  • Medicine(all)


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