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No limit on number of caesareans in the UK

Recommendation for fewer caesarean births dropped by World Health Organization

Posted: 1 July 2010
by Kimberley Smith
newborn baby
Currently in the UK 25% of births are by caesarean

The World Health Organization (WHO) has decided to drop its previous recommendation that only 10-15% of births should be by caesarean section.

The current UK rate is around 25% with half of these operations performed as emergency procedures after complications arise during normal labour.

“There is no empirical evidence for an optimum percentage,” the WHO now claims. It said that “what matters most is that all women who need caesarean sections receive them.”

“If you set a target then people focus on that target,” said Professor James Walker, spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. “What we should be doing is giving optimal care to the mother. That way we minimise the reasons for a section,” he added.

Doctors and midwives have been under pressure to persuade women to give birth naturally. The WHO hopes that this revision will change the focus to provide the best care for mums whatever their situations while continuing to advise a normal birth where possible.

If you’re considering your options, find out more about caesarean birth and your rights.


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