Despite the introduction of national guidance giving pregnant woman the right to a caesarean birth a decade ago, women are routinely being denied the opportunity for this.
It’s now being said that their maternal choice alone is not enough of a reason to choose a caesarean birth over a vaginal birth. More than 90% of caesareans are carried out for purely clinical reasons whereases woman should be able to choose a caesarean even if there is no obvious physical reason for it.
The NHS was involved in a scandal where the deaths of mothers and babies in Cumbria occurred due to midwives allegedly being ‘obsessed’ with a vaginal birth. An investigation revealed dozens of hospital authorities in England and Wales are still obstructing these requests. Only a third of hospital Trusts and Boards allow ‘maternal-request caesarean sections’.
The findings revealed a high number of medical negligence cases involving women who were denied a caesarean and who must now live with long term complications due to birth injury.
Tozers' clinical negligence specialist Stuart Bramley writes:
"More than a decade after women were allowed to choose a Caesarean delivery without needing to show medical justification for doing so, it seems extraordinary that so many hospitals are still pushing women towards what is often described as a 'natural birth'. Caesarean sections are recognised to be perfectly safe and in many situations, better for mother and/or baby than a vaginal delivery. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that obstructing the preferences of so many parents-to-be is due to cost considerations but that was factor looked at carefully by NIHCE in 2011 before the rule change. Women must have a right to choose the mode of delivery and I sincerely hope that this Press coverage leads to that right being exercised fully across the UK.”
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