The Sunday Times reveal that a number of PCTs are now formally banning all planned caesareans that have no medical justication. (Linking to Daily Mail copy of the article because the Sunday Times is behind a subscription page).
As an advocate for informed choice I am disappointed PCTs are taking this huge step backwards in women’s birth rights all in the name of cost cutting. What is being forgotten is that the number of women falling into this category is not only incredibly small but that only a fraction of them, should they be made to have a vaginal birth instead, would achieve the totally natural birth. (e.g. no intervention of any sort and no over night stay) necessary to achieve the levels of cost savings being talked about. We know that over 50% of UK vaginal births currently involve intervention. The emotional trauma suffered by women forced to labour when they so clearly wanted a caesarean is akin to that experienced by many women wanting a vaginal birth but ending up with an emergency caesarean.
Attempting to save costs by banning all those planned caesareans where there are no recognised medical grounds totally fails to address the many, many reasons why women make these requests. It is certainly not all about ‘lifestyle’ for many of them and this ban removes the ability for women to make informed choices based on sound risk assessment.