A Qualitative Study on the C-Section Experiences of Black Women in the Southeast United States Open Access

Anaba, Michelle (Spring 2022)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/5712m7954?locale=en


Black women face some of the greatest disparities in healthcare and healthcare access. These disparities often stem from racism as opposed to genetic factors. Black women face the greatest health disparities in maternal morbidity and mortality, and they have the highest c-section rates out of all other racial groups in the United States. These disparities stem from racism, providers’ implicit bias, and providers not listening to Black women. Often, Black women are ignored when they express concerns during their prenatal, childbirth, and postpartum experiences. They may have issues that left untreated, could lead to adverse health outcomes or even death.

There is research that shows that c-sections may be overused in the United States. Physicians are typically paid more for c-sections than vaginal deliveries, and c-sections may be viewed as more convenient for a physician, since they can be scheduled.  There are several reasons why the c-section rates for Black women may be higher than other races. Black women often do not have access to high-quality healthcare, and may only have access to hospitals with high rates of adverse health outcomes. Additionally, physicians may ignore Black women’s symptoms and not find issues until later, if at all. There are some qualitative studies that provide data on why Black women face adverse maternal and child health issues, but there are not many qualitative studies that focus on Black women’s perspectives on c-section experiences. This qualitative study will focus on the experiences of Black women in the Southeast who have had a c-section within the past 15 years. The aims of this study are to hear directly from Black women and find out what their experiences were, how they were treated by medical staff, and whether they felt their c-section was necessary.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Literature Review

Physician Preference and Financial Pressure to Recommend C-Sections

Health Disparities

Disregard for Black Women’s Concerns

Chapter 3: Methods


Participant Recruitment

Data Collection

Interview Guide

Data Analysis Methodology

Chapter 4: Results


Sample Description

Key Findings

The Need for Medical Staff to Improve Communication with Black Women

The Need to Improve the Healthcare System and Childbirth Process for Black Women

The Need for Black Mothers to Self-Advocate or Identify an Advocate

Summary of Findings

Chapter 5: Discussion

Discussion of Key Results

Public Health Implications

Individual-Birthing Black Women

Relationship/Interpersonal- Advocates and Birthing Support People

Community & Institutional- Medical Professionals

Societal- Society and Policies

Future Directions




Appendix A- Interview Guide

Appendix B- Demographics Table

Appendix C- Visual Framework of Key Themes

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