Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences

Degree Program

Public Health Sciences with a specialization in Health Promotion, PhD

Committee Chair

Harris, Muriel

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Brown, Aishia

Committee Member

Brown, Aishia

Committee Member

Kerr, Jeani

Committee Member

Vedam, Saraswathi

Author's Keywords

Cesarean delivery; quality of care; person-centered care; equitable care; socio-cultural contexts


The cesarean delivery rate has increased and accounts for a third of pregnancies in the U.S., especially among marginalized women. This study applied a newly developed conceptual model to identify potential areas of influence that could reduce rates of cesarean deliveries. The Giving Voice to Mothers - United States data was used for analyses to predict covariates associated with having a cesarean delivery vs. spontaneous vaginal delivery (n=1,876). Significant covariates were determined and included the following: having a prior cesarean delivery (OR: 14.11, 95% CI: 7.99 - 24.90); more than one child (OR: 0.21, 95% CI: 0.13 - 0.35); elevated pregnancy risk (OR: 2.22 - 4.90, 95% CI: 2.22 - 4.90); doctor as perinatal care provider (OR: 2.25, 95% CI: 1.40 - 3.61); and receiving disrespectful perinatal care (OR: 2.16, 95% CI: 1.13 - 4.12). Significant covariates associated with race/ethnicity with white women as the reference group included the following: Asian women had higher odds of having a prior cesarean delivery (OR: 2.59, 95% CI: 1.31 - 5.12) and doctor as their perinatal care provider (OR: 2.31, 95% CI: 1.22 - 4.35); Black women had higher odds of having one or more child (OR: 2.15, 95% CI: 1.11 - 4.14); and Hispanic (OR: 1.89, 95% CI: 1.04 - 3.45) and Indigenous (OR: 3.17, 95% CI: 1.34 - 7.48) women had higher odds of receiving disrespectful perinatal care. Cesarean delivery rates could reduce by intervening at individual and interpersonal levels of influence that incorporate fewer medical interventions and improved patient-provider interactions.