Factors influencing the decision that women make on their mode of delivery: The Health Belief Model

Jean Tak Alice Loke Yuen, Louise Davies, Sau Fun Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Childbirth is regarded as an important life event for women, and growing numbers of them are making the choice to give birth by Caesarean Delivery. The aim of this study was to identify the factors influencing the decision that women make on their mode of delivery, underpinned by the Health Belief Model. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study. Hong Kong Chinese women aged 18-45, who were pregnant or had given birth within the last three years were recruited. The participants were asked to complete a structured self-administered questionnaire consisting of 62 questions. Results: A total of 319 women were recruited, of whom 73 (22.9%) preferred to have a cesarean section delivery (CD). The results showed that women preferred CD because they were concerned about being pregnant at an advanced age, were worried about labor pain and perineum tearing, wanted to have a better plan for maternity leave, had chosen an auspicious date to deliver, and perceived that CD is a more convenience way to deliver. The perceived benefits and severity of a vaginal birth (VB), and the perceived benefits, severity, and cues to action of CD, affected the decision to undergo either a VB or CD. Conclusions: The data indicated that the constructs of the Health Belief Model - perceived benefits, perceived severity, and cues to action - affect the decision that women make on their mode of delivery. This research indicates that there is value in designing educational programs for pregnant women to educate them on the benefits, risks, and severity of the two different modes of birth based on the constructs of HBM. This will enable women to be active participants in choosing the mode of birth that they believe is right for them.
Original languageEnglish
Article number274
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2015


  • Cesarean section
  • Health Belief Model
  • Mode of delivery decisions
  • Vaginal birth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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