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UBC postdoc Sarah Munro studies women’s birth choices after C-sections

Sarah Munro

Sarah Munro is a researcher and community-based doula, and she understands the difficult choice women face after having a C-section: whether to deliver their next baby vaginally or by C-section. Because C-sections have serious risks for both mothers and newborns, clinical guidelines suggest that mothers should be offered a vaginal birth for their next child after a C-section, yet in BC, just 33 per cent of eligible women opted to give birth vaginally.

Munro, a postdoctoral fellow in family practice in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC and Dartmouth College, recently published two articles on her research examining this issue. The journal Women and Birth  published Munro’s qualitative study examining why women opted for repeat C-sections. In a second study, published in Birth, she interviewed health-care providers and decision-makers about their experiences.

Munro has found that women often do not have a good understanding of why they needed a C-section, and don’t always receive adequate explanations from their health-care providers. As she explains in a Q&A with UBC Public Affairs, women will fill in the gaps in their understanding with conversations with friends and family and internet research. This information will inform their planning for their next child; planning some women start as early as a few weeks after their C-section.

Munro is in the process of developing a tool to help aid patients in making decisions about future births, based on information she has gained from her research.

This work is a continuation of Munro’s doctoral research. As a UBC PhD student, Munro was selected as a member of the first cohort of the Public Scholars Initiative, a program designed to support doctoral students doing research for the public good.