Caesarean-Sections Should Be Available To All Women, New NHS Guidelines Recommend
Women who want a Caesarean section, including those who have suffered a previous traumatic birth, should be able to have one, according to new NHS guidelines.
A review says women who are anxious about childbirth should have their "fears taken seriously" and be offered mental health support.
If a woman still wants a section after receiving counselling and weighing up the risks of the operation, she should be granted one.
And those women who do not have a medical or mental health reason for wanting a section should also be given one, according to the guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.
For this group of women, they should first be given full information on the risks and benefits and the opportunity to discuss their views with a member of the obstetrics team.
Just under one in four births in the UK are by Caesarean section.
Between half and two-thirds of these are carried out in an emergency because of problems with the birth, but the rest are planned.
These planned operations include women who have had complications in pregnancy, such as a low lying placenta, but the majority are women who have had a previous Caesarean.
Caesarean rates vary across the world, from 14% in Nordic countries to more than 40% in Italy.
Malcolm Griffiths, consultant obstetrician at Luton and Dunstable hospital and chair of the guideline, said one of the key differences between countries with low and high Caesarean rates was one-to-one support for women in labour from health professionals and a supportive family.