MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Valentina Tonei, PhD
British Academy Research Associate
Department of Economics and Related Studies
University of York, UK
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: There has been a growing utilisation of Caesarean sections in the past decades. To put it in a perspective, in the United Kingdom, the caesarean section rate was about 26% in 2015, while in 1990s it was about 12-15%. A similar increase has been observed in other countries, for example in the USA. So, while this study focuses on the United Kingdom, I believe that the evidence from this research can apply also to other countries.
I study the health consequences for mothers who give birth through an emergency caesarean. Thanks to previous studies, we are well-aware of the implications for mothers’ physical health; instead, this research sheds light on the impact on new mothers’ mental health. I find that new mothers who have an emergency caesarean delivery are at higher risk of developing postnatal depression in the first 9 months after the delivery.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: The main results from this study is that an emergency caesarean delivery may have a negative impact on mother’s psychological well-being. This has important implications for public health policy, with new mothers who give birth with this procedure in need of increased psychological support.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: I think that it would be important to explore also the impact of elective caesareans (those that are planned in advance). We may expect elective caesareans to have a smaller impact on mothers’ psychological well-being because mothers can predict the event and in a way, adjust their expectations to it. However, it would be still important to know whether this is the case. If mothers who have elective caesareans are at risk of developing postnatal depression because of the delivery method, health care professionals should be aware of this so that they can offer the best support and also avoid elective caesareans when possible.
Valentina Tonei. Mother’s mental health after childbirth: Does the delivery method matter? Journal of Health Economics, 2019; 63: 182 DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2018.11.006
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