The BTA’s response to the call to reduce caesarean section rates


We are concerned at the call by David Richmond, president of the RCOG, for an NHS - wide drive to reduce the number of first - time mothers having caesarean sections.

Nearly one in four women in England give birth by caesar ean section. While we agree that the causes of such a high rate need to be investigated, we worry that any attempts to drive down the rate by, for example, setting targets, could lead to health professionals being reluctant to carry out caesareans when the y are medically necessary, putting the mother and baby at risk. We are already aware of instances where that has happened.

It is also important that health care professionals treat mental and physical indications for caesareans equally. Too many women wit h severe fear of childbirth, often following a previous traumatic birth, are not being treated with compassion and kindness. While many hospitals adhere to NICE guidance and, after discussion, respect the mother' ultimate choice of mode of birth, this i s not the case everywhere. We see too many women whose mental health and relationships break down as a result of such treatment.

We firmly believe that decisions about caesareans and other medical interventions should be based on the circumstances of each individual case and take into account the wishes of the mother.




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