29/10/2011 18:47 BST | Updated 29/12/2011 05:12 GMT

Caesarean Sections 'Available To All Women' On NHS Under New Guidelines

Women will soon have the right to give birth by caesarean section on the NHS whether there is a medical need for the operation or not, according to a report.

Previously, women were expected to give birth naturally unless there was a medical reason not to.

But now healthy women can choose to undergo the procedure, according to a draft report by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice).

The guidelines are being changed as caesarean sections are now much safer than in the past.

There have been cases where women have persuaded doctors to carry out a caesarean section when it was not medically necessary, although such cases were uncommon.

The report is due to be published next month after being checked for any factual errors.

A Nice spokesman said: "This is a draft report and is due for publication next month after consultation. As a result the report could change."

Doctors who do not wish to carry out the procedure for non-medical or ethical reasons will be able to refer women who want a caesarean to other doctors who are willing to do so, The Sunday Times reported.

Women will also have to talk through their reasons for wanting the operation with doctors and midwives before being able to finalise their decision.