Analysis: 'A decision not to be taken lightly'

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THE decision to have a Caesarean section is not one that should be taken lightly. While we would want to promote choice for women, we consider that that choice should be based on up-to-date evidence and women have the right to access the research associated with any decisions they are faced with making.

As health professionals, we have a responsibility to ensure that any woman who may be considering a Caesarean section is provided with accurate information on the risks and benefits of the procedure.

With a Caesarean, there is an increased risk of bleedingand infection because it is an invasive surgical procedure - as well as other complications linked to the operation.

It is not always the case that women will be able to electively choose a Caesarean. In Scotland, we find that a Caesarean performed electively is something that will have to be discussed with an obstetrician.

It is not normally the case that a woman would be given an automatic choice to do that - there would have to be a rationale to enter into those discussions. The decision would be made jointly between the woman, her midwife and her obstetric consultant.

Emergency Caesareans do not allow for such in-depth discussions so it is important that some discussion of this possibility takes place in the antenatal period so a woman can be prepared and discuss some of the pros and cons. These operations are always done in the best interests of mother and baby.

• Emma Currer is Royal College of Midwives National Officer for Scotland