Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

NICE urges more info on pros and cons of C-section

  • Comment

Healthcare workers have been urged to alert pregnant women to the pros and cons of elective caesarean sections, officials said.

The number of C-sections has increased “dramatically” in the last 30 years, now accounting for around a quarter of all births, but experts say that some women are “confused” about the procedure.

New advice from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) states that women who request a caesarean section should have a “documented discussion” with their maternity team about the risks and benefits of the operation.

Pippa Nightingale, head of midwifery at Imperial Trust in London, said: “As a midwife working in a busy London hospital, I know that some women request a planned caesarean section because of fears that their care will not be good enough and concern that they will not receive enough support during labour and delivery.

“However, after a discussion of all the pros and cons of both types of birth, and having been assured of one-to-one midwifery support and a personal birth plan, many will often choose to try a vaginal birth. Ensuring women are fully informed about their birth options is important, and I am sure this quality standard will be a helpful tool for all involved.”

Jane Munro, quality and audit development advisor at the Royal College of Midwives, added: “It is particularly important that any discussion with the woman on the risks and benefits of caesarean section and the implications for future pregnancies are documented. We are confident that when women are fully aware of the evidence they will not be asking for inappropriate caesarean sections.

“It is also critical that women who have anxieties about birth be referred to a health professional with expertise in providing perinatal mental health support. We know that when such individualised support is offered in consultant midwives’ clinics, these anxieties can be allayed for many women.”

Dr Gillian Leng, director of health and social care at NICE, said: “NICE has developed this standard because up to a quarter of women are now having caesarean sections, and we want to ensure that women who may need or may have had a caesarean section, or are simply asking about them as an option for delivering their baby, have the most up-to-date information about the quality of care they should receive.”

 

Are you able to Speak Out Safely? Sign our petition to put pressure on your trust to support an open and transparent NHS.

 

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.