NHS to offer women caesareans on request?

New recommendations suggest all women should be allowed to opt for a caesarean birth on the NHS if they wish


Women giving birth on the NHS may soon be able to opt to have their baby by caesarean, if new recommendations set out by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) are formalised.


NICE, which advises NHS trusts on health and treatment options, is updating its recommendations for the availability of non-medical caesareans. Currently, about 25% of all births in the UK are by caesarean, and the majority of these are due to health concerns for the mum or baby. Right now, women are not able to request an elective caesarean on the NHS unless it is medically recommended.

The new document states: “For all women requesting a caesarean, if after discussion and offer of support (including perinatal mental health support for women with anxiety about childbirth), a vaginal birth is still not an acceptable option, offer a planned caesarean.”

The final guidance is likely to be formalised as early as this November and campaigners have welcomed the move.

“I am very pleased that NICE is recognising and supporting informed women who choose a caesarean birth plan,” said Pauline McDonagh Hull, editor of electivecesarean.com.

Do you agree that women should have this option on the NHS when planning their birth?

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