Mode of delivery preferences in a diverse population of pregnant women

Lynn M. Yee, Anjali J. Kaimal, Kathryn A. Houston, Erica Wu, Mari Paule Thiet, Sanae Nakagawa, Aaron B. Caughey, Atoosa Firouzian, Miriam Kuppermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Objective The objective of the study was to assess women's preferences for vaginal vs cesarean delivery in 4 contexts: prior cesarean delivery, twins, breech presentation, and absent indication for cesarean. Study Design This was a cross-sectional study of pregnant women at 24-40 weeks' gestation. After assessing stated preferences for vaginal or cesarean delivery, we used the standard gamble metric to measure the strength of these preferences and the time tradeoff metric to determine how women value the potential processes and outcomes associated with these 2 delivery approaches. Results Among the 240 participants, 90.8% had a stated preference for vaginal delivery. Across the 4 contexts, these women indicated that, on average, they would accept a 59-75% chance of an attempted vaginal birth ending in a cesarean delivery before choosing a planned cesarean delivery, indicating strong preferences for spontaneous, uncomplicated vaginal delivery. Variations in preferences for labor processes emerged. Although uncomplicated labor ending in vaginal birth was assigned mean utilities of 0.993 or higher (on a 0-1 scale, with higher scores indicating more preferred outcomes), the need for oxytocin, antibiotics, or operative vaginal delivery resulted in lower mean scores, comparable with those assigned to uncomplicated cesarean delivery. Substantially lower scores (ranging from 0.432 to 0.598) were obtained for scenarios ending in severe maternal or neonatal morbidity. Conclusion Although most women expressed strong preferences for vaginal delivery, their preferences regarding interventions frequently used to achieve that goal varied. These data underscore the importance of educating patients about the process of labor and delivery to facilitate incorporation of informed patient preferences in shared decision making regarding delivery approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377.e1-377.e24
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • mode of delivery
  • patient preferences
  • shared decision making
  • standard gamble
  • time tradeoff

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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