Local Perception about Caesarian Section among Post Caesarian Section Women in Pakistan

  • Ikram Badshah Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad
  • Zakiya Rubab Mohsin MPhil Scholar, Department of Anthropology, Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad Pakistan
  • Jan Alam Lecturer, Kohat University of Science and Technology, Kohat
Keywords: Perceptions, Experience, Decision Making, Caesarian, Socioeconomic, VBAC (Vaginal Birth after Caesarian)


Birthing is a critical moment in the life of a mother. The biomedical practice of the Caesarian Section (C-section) does not exist in a vacuum but is under the influence of the sociocultural environment. However, deciding between methods of birth and the perception about the C-section shows a gap and dearth in the present literature. This paper aims at understanding what social and cultural factors construct the perceptions and experiences of the Caesarian Section among post-C-section- women belonging to different socio-economic statuses. Moreover, it explores how these factors influence Pakistani women’s decision-making regarding childbirth methods. The paper uses a qualitative yet multi-sited locale approach, employing semi-structured interviews from 20 post-C-section women mainly from Islamabad and Rawalpindi region; 10 women belong to lower socio-economic status whereas, 10 to the upper one. Different themes from data were identified and obtained for analysis.

The perception and experience of the C-section fluctuate with social, economic, and cultural factors. The influence of biomedical and intra-household politics on the decision of C-section is much conspicuous and evident. Affluent families practice C-sections under dominant power dynamics without any reasoning. For those who can afford C-section, is perceived as a luxury and artificial motherhood in the eyes of ‘’the others’’ whereas, normal birthing was true and natural motherhood. The social construction of the C-section suggests that social and cultural forces play a decisive role. C-section is only acceptable if there is an emergency otherwise natural birth is the most suitable method of childbirth. Along with advocating C-sections in critical medical conditions, an awareness campaign against C-sections is also imperative for it has severe consequences.