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The determinants of obstetricians’ willingness to undertake delivery by vaginal birth after cesarean section in Taiwan

Authors Linn G, Ying Y, Chang K

Received 12 February 2019

Accepted for publication 22 July 2019

Published 13 August 2019 Volume 2019:15 Pages 991—1002


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Deyun Wang

George Linn,1,2 Yung-hsiang Ying,3 Koyin Chang2

1Show Chwan Memorial Hospital, Changhua, Taiwan; 2Department of Healthcare Information and Management, Ming Chuan University, Taoyuan, Taiwan; 3Department of Business Administration, College of Management, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan

Background: Babies are sometimes delivered by cesarean section (CS) to women eligible for trial of labor after a cesarean (TOLAC) due to a fear of complications during the delivery process. This view is especially widespread in Taiwan, as evidenced by the extremely low rate (<5%) of vaginal birth after cesarean section (VBAC). To improve the safety and quality of childbirth and the obstetrical practice environment, this study aimed to identify ways to contain the ever-increasing rate of CS by investigating the determinants for TOLAC from the viewpoint of obstetricians.
Methods: A specially designed questionnaire was employed that incorporated the perceived risk of VBAC, institutional managerial attitude, and obstetricians’ personal characteristics. Face-to-face surveys were conducted with obstetricians from across Taiwan. Regression analysis was used as appropriate.
Results: Among the 231 recruited obstetricians, 86.7% were willing to undertake VBAC, but only 71.4% had actually done so. Obstetricians with a more risk-tolerant personality were more likely to undertake VBAC. Institutional characteristics, such as the time it takes to transfer a woman from the delivery table to the operating table (table to table) and the general facilities of the hospital to handle delivery complications resulting from VBAC were also key determinants for attempting VBAC.
Conclusion: In Taiwan, a country with a low birthrate, obstetricians need to be risk-tolerant to undertake VBAC. This phenomenon is probably due to underinvestment in facilities for vaginal delivery and thus a general perception that VBAC is risky. The study’s results will potentially help medical institutions to adopt appropriate guidelines and build incentive structures to achieve a higher VBAC rate.

Keywords: physician traits, vaginal birth after cesarean section, willingness to undertake

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