BACKGROUND: In Tanzania, cesarean section (CS) rates have been steadily increasing, yet little is known about mothers' understanding of the medical rationale for their CSs. AIM: To identify mothers' cultural understandings of the rationale for their CSs. METHODS: Design: A qualitative descriptive design was employed. Setting: A government hospital in the western region in Tanzania. Participants: A total of 117 mothers were interviewed using convenience sampling post CS. FINDINGS: Forty percent of the mothers were younger than 18 years, with more than 50% having had five or more live babies. Among multigravida women, 40.2% had had one or more previous CSs. The emergent themes were lack of dietary knowledge, use of local herbs, delays in coming to hospital, avoiding stressful labor pains and no ability to exercise, and no personal preferences of "push or go for an operation." CONCLUSION: Pregnant women in Tanzania need improved health education to make informed choices about childbirth and be involved all processes of antepartum care decision making to achieve optimal birth outcomes.
- Cesarean section