Caesarean section has contributed immensely to improved obstetric care throughout the world. In developing countries especially the sub-Saharan Africa, there is a great aversion to caesarean section. This study aims to assess the attitudes of antenatal patients at the University of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital towards caesarean section. A cross-sectional study was conducted among 400 antenatal clients seen at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital between 1st and 31st September 2009. Information on their socio-demographic characteristics, knowledge, beliefs and attitudes were sought. The response rate was 100%. Data management was carried out with SPSS 15.0 statistical software. Chi-square tests were used to compare the groups as appropriate. P value of <0.05 was assumed to be statistically significant. Out of 400 women studied, 68.5% favoured caesarean section while 31.5% were averse to it. About 59% of them knew what caesarean section was. Increasing maternal level of education and age were associated with increased knowledge and support for caesarean section (X2 =11.8, P = 0.0006). Eighty percent of the women believed caesarean section is done for medical reasons. If caesarean section is indicated in the index pregnancy, 65% would accept that the procedure be done, 19% would want to discuss with their husbands while 7.5% would default. Of the 82 women who had previous caesarean section, 73.2% would readily accept to undergo a repeat caesarean section if necessary in the index pregnancy compared to 200 (62.9%) of 318 women who had not undergone caesarean section. The difference was not significant. (X2 = 3.03, P = 0.08). There is a high level of knowledge and acceptance of caesarean section in this study. This acceptance is directly linked with the educational status of the women. However, one third of the women were still averse to caesarean section.
Key words: Caesarean section, attitudes, antenatal clients.
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