Emergency caesarean sections are often very urgent, with limited time for informing and guiding parents. Is it preferable to leave the partner outside of the operating room, or let the partner accompany the mother?
This review aimed to provide an overview of the available evidence regarding the presence of the partner in the operating room during emergency caesarean sections.
A systematic literature search was performed in PubMed, Embase, Cinahl and the Cochrane Library.
All published literature reporting on emergency caesarean sections in regional or general anaesthesia with the partner present in the operating room were eligible, no matter the design.
Twenty-four titles, published between 1984 and 2020, were included; 15 contained original clinical findings and 9 were letters/debates. Quality of evidence was assessed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool and found to be very low/low (17 studies), moderate (6) or good (1). Studies originated from Europe (16 studies), USA/Canada (4), South America (2), Asia (1) and Africa (1). Content data were thematically summarised and were overall either in favour or against having the partner present. Staff seemed reluctant to let partners be present for caesarean sections under general anaesthesia; mothers and partners preferred the partners’ presence. Under regional anaesthesia, parents also wished for the partners’ presence and described the caesarean section under regional anaesthesia as a predominantly positive experience. Most staff had a favourable attitude towards letting the partner be present for caesarean sections under regional anaesthesia.
Limited evidence exists regarding the presence of the partner during emergency caesarean sections, but is of low quality. Most parents prefer having their partner present. Staff can be reluctant, especially when general anaesthesia is used.
- Limited evidence exists regarding the presence of the partner in the operating room during emergency caesarean sections.
- Most parents prefer having the partner present in the operating room during emergency caesarean sections under either general or regional anaesthesia.
- Most arguments in the literature against having the partner present in the operating room are personal opinions.
- Most arguments in the literature in favour of having the partner present in the operating room are clinical findings.
- Healthcare staff are reluctant to allow partners to be present when general anaesthesia is used.