Midwives’ views of an evidence-based intervention to reduce caesarean section rates in Ireland

Published:February 20, 2022DOI:



      A worldwide increase of caesarean section (CS) rates has been estimated at a rate of 4% per year and numerous interventions to reduce the rates have not been successful, perhaps because they are not acceptable to clinicians.


      A caesarean section (CS) can be a life-saving operation, but has been associated with short- and long-term risk factors and shown to affect subsequent pregnancies.


      To explore midwives’ views on CS rates and evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of an evidence-based intervention programme (REDUCE) designed to decrease overall CS rates in Ireland by 7%.


      Following ethical approval, a qualitative exploratory design was used to seek midwives’ views of the evidence-based intervention. A total of 28 midwives from one large tertiary maternity hospital took part in four focus group interviews. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.


      Five themes emerged, illustrating the midwives’ views of what could be improved in the present system and how CS rates could be reduced in future. The themes included: (i) Induction of labour; (ii) Education; (iii) Auditing of practice; (iv) Clinical practice; (v) Midwife-Obstetrician collaboration.


      This study noted a rising CS rate year on year, with a rate of 37% at the time of the study, and the midwives voiced their very real concerns over the increased high rates.


      The study provided support for the evidence based ‘REDUCE’ intervention, which now needs to be tested empirically within this Irish population.


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