New Guidelines from NICE on the Right to Choose Caesarean
New guidelines have been issued from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) giving women the right to choose to give birth by caesarean - even if there is no clinical reason for having one. Under the new guidelines, midwives will be required to offer counselling to help women with the decision.
The guidelines include details on the risks of both caesarean and natural births to help women make their decision. They have found that planned caesarean sections may reduce the risk of pain in the vagina, anus and abdomen during birth and for 3 days afterwards, pain to the vagina and heavy bleeding after birth. Planned caesarean may increase the risk of intensive care unit admission for babies and may result in a longer hospital stay for women. There is also an increased risk for women of bleeding after birth requiring a hysterectomy and of heart attack. NICE do however stress that the risks only apply to planned caesareans and depend very much on the individual circumstances of each woman.
The NICE press office suggest that the new guidance was prompted by the change in scientific evidence relating to the risks of caesarean sections suggesting that the risks and benefits of both ways of giving birth are now relatively similar.
Critics have argued that the new guidance will increase the number of women undergoing caesareans, however NICE are of the view that formalising the right to choose and giving counselling will result in women being better informed and may actually reduce caesarean rates.
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