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Women 'being denied Caesarean choice'

FINDINGS: NHS

ALMOST ONE in six NHS trusts in the UK do not offer women elective caesarean sections and many more have inconsistent policies, a charity has found.

According to The Guardian, official guidance states that women should be offered a planned c-section “if after discussion and offer of support ... a vaginal birth is still not an acceptable option”.

But Birthrights - UK’s only organisation dedicated to improving women’s experience of pregnancy and childbirth - found that 22 out of 147 trusts who responded to a freedom of information request did not offer maternal request caesareans (MRCs).

Additionally, almost half had policies that the charity deemed problematic or inconsistent, thereby creating a postcode lottery, Birthrights said.

The organisation’s chief executive, Rebecca Schiller, said: “Maternal request caesareans are the number one reason women contact the Birthrights advice service. The women we support have endured previously traumatic births, physical ill health, childhood sexual abuse or have carefully examined the evidence available and made informed decisions that planned caesareans will give them and their baby the best chance of an emotionally and physically healthy start.

“It is clear that women requesting caesareans meet judgmental attitudes, barriers and disrespect more often than they find compassion and support. We are concerned that this lack of respect for patient dignity could have profound negative consequences for the emotional and physical safety of women."

Since the charity's findings, women across social media have shared their personal experiences and thoughts on women should have the option to have an elective caesarean sections.

"Women shouldn’t have the option to ‘choose’ a caesarean. It’s a major operation that carries risks, that should be performed if there is a risk to mother or baby," wrote one Twitter user. "If you don’t want to go through labour and push a baby out naturally, don’t get pregnant."

Another had similar sentiments, saying: "Can't understand why a perfectly healthy woman, without pregnancy complications would even consider having a caesarean. Why have unecessary surgical proceedure & delay birth recovery time? Not logical. Also extra burden on NHS."

However, many have stated that having the option is important and are thankful they had the option.

"Feeling lucky that I am, it seems, among a small number of mums who was able to exercise my right to choose an elective Caesarean section," wrote self-care blogger Kirsty Clark.

Do you think women should have the choice of a caesarean section via the NHS?

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