Deakin University

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Educational interventions targeting pregnant women to optimise the use of caesarean section: What are the essential elements? A qualitative comparative analysis

Version 2 2024-06-20, 00:36
Version 1 2024-05-10, 00:40
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-20, 00:36 authored by RI Zahroh, K Sutcliffe, D Kneale, M Vazquez Corona, AP Betrán, N Opiyo, CSE Homer, MA Bohren
Abstract Background Caesarean section (CS) rates are increasing globally, posing risks to women and babies. To reduce CS, educational interventions targeting pregnant women have been implemented globally, however, their effectiveness is varied. To optimise benefits of these interventions, it is important to understand which intervention components influence success. In this study, we aimed to identify essential intervention components that lead to successful implementation of interventions focusing on pregnant women to optimise CS use. Methods We re-analysed existing systematic reviews that were used to develop and update WHO guidelines on non-clinical interventions to optimise CS. To identify if certain combinations of intervention components (e.g., how the intervention was delivered, and contextual characteristics) are associated with successful implementation, we conducted a Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). We defined successful interventions as interventions that were able to reduce CS rates. We included 36 papers, comprising 17 CS intervention studies and an additional 19 sibling studies (e.g., secondary analyses, process evaluations) reporting on these interventions to identify intervention components. We conducted QCA in six stages: 1) Identifying conditions and calibrating the data; 2) Constructing truth tables, 3) Checking quality of truth tables; 4) Identifying parsimonious configurations through Boolean minimization; 5) Checking quality of the solution; 6) Interpretation of solutions. We used existing published qualitative evidence synthesis to develop potential theories driving intervention success. Results We found successful interventions were those that leveraged social or peer support through group-based intervention delivery, provided communication materials to women, encouraged emotional support by partner or family participation, and gave women opportunities to interact with health providers. Unsuccessful interventions were characterised by the absence of at least two of these components. Conclusion We identified four key essential intervention components which can lead to successful interventions targeting women to reduce CS. These four components are 1) group-based delivery, 2) provision of IEC materials, 3) partner or family member involvement, and 4) opportunity for women to interact with health providers. Maternal health services and hospitals aiming to better prepare women for vaginal birth and reduce CS can consider including the identified components to optimise health and well-being benefits for the woman and baby.



BMC Public Health



Article number

ARTN 1851




London, Eng.







Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal