NHS statistics have revealed that although the overall caesarean rate has remained static at nearly a quarter of all births, there are significant regional variations.
Babies at Chelsea and Westminster NHS trust are twice as likely to be born by caesarean as those in Nottingham. However, the stereotype of “too posh to push” can’t be applied, as the operations carried out were a result of emergency complications.
There were nearly 155,000 caesareans recorded between 2008 and 2009, and a large number of these took place in London. The lowest rate of caesarean labours was found at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS trust.
Under guidelines from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), women have no automatic right to a caesarean. Cathy Warwick, general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, said, “It’s worrying that there are such wide regional variations, given that there is a general agreement that caesarean section rates are higher than they need to be.”
But a Department of Health spokesperson said its policy on caesareans was in line with guidelines. “The Department of Health is focused on improving support for women and reducing the number of caesareans needed for medical or emotional reasons.”