August 19, 2019
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -
Yasmine Kalkstein, assistant vice president for Academic Affairs at Mount Saint Mary College (center), recently partnered with Tayla Miron-Shatz, director of the Center for Medical Decision Making at Ono Academic College in Israel, to research patient experience during unplanned caesarian birth.
After spending a year in Israel researching the topic as a Fulbright Scholar, Yasmine Kalkstein, assistant vice president for Academic Affairs at Mount Saint Mary College, recently published her collaborative research on patient experience during unplanned caesarean births.
“Preparedness and Support, Not Personality, Predict Satisfaction in Unplanned Caesarean Births” by Kalkstein and Tayla Miron-Shatz, director of the Center for Medical Decision Making at Ono Academic College in Israel, appeared in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in July 2019.
Like many other medical experiences, giving birth does not always unfold according to expectations. This research examines the opinions of more than 200 women who thought they were having a traditional birth, but instead had an unplanned caesarean, focusing on what factors can lead to both positive and negative birth experiences. According to Kalkstein and Miron-Shatz, satisfaction in the face of these challenging medical situations can be increased by patient-centered care.
In order to mitigate frustrations and regrets, note Kalkstein and Miron-Shatz, medical personnel should keep women informed of unforeseen challenges and changes to their birth plan, as well as actively listening to their concerns. Even in situations where a child is born as expected, women may still have a negative experience if they feel ignored or under-informed during the birthing process.
“We know these women are often disappointed and at-risk for depression and trauma following their experience,” Kalkstein explained. “It’s important, therefore, to examine what influences these women’s satisfaction with their birth experience.”
Initially, Kalkstein and Miron-Shatz theorized that a woman’s personality could have a role in birth satisfaction when faced with an unplanned cesarean. There are countless factors: some people want to have more control than others, emotional impact of the situation will vary from woman to woman, and so on.
“Yet, what was interesting is our data shows personality didn’t matter,” Kalkstein revealed. “What predicted satisfaction most of all, in the face of this birth challenge, was whether they were emotionally supported and included in decision-making. Women can be given some sense of control in an out-of-control experience by being informed, empathized with, and included in the process. And this powerfully colors the whole experience.”
Kalkstein recently received a Fulbright Senior Scholar grant from the U.S. State Department. The grant sponsored her ongoing research into women’s medical decision-making regarding childbirth, including delivery methods and breastfeeding options. It’s a topic she’s been exploring for years, often alongside her Mount students through the Mount’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experience.
Kalkstein has been working with Miron-Shatz on several projects since meeting her in 2013. She’s dreamed of a chance to collaborate with her fellow scholar in person, and the Fulbright grant was just what she needed to make that collaboration a reality. She spent a year in Israel working at Ono Academic College’s Center for Medical Decision Making.
Kalkstein and Miron-Shatz plan to continue their fruitful research collaboration well into the future.