Caesarean section 

Introduction 

Caesarean

Learn about the importance of discussing a caesarean with your consultant before choosing to have one, the recovery period, and turning the birth into a positive experience. A video by Stockport NHS Foundation Trust.

Media last reviewed: 19/09/2012

Next review due: 19/09/2014

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A caesarean section is an operation to deliver a baby. It involves making a cut in the front wall of a woman’s abdomen (tummy) and womb.

The operation can be:

  • planned (elective) procedure, when a medical need for the operation becomes apparent during pregnancy
  • an emergency procedure, when circumstances during labour call for urgent delivery of the baby

A caesarean section is usually carried out under regional anaesthetic, where the lower part of your body is numbed. It usually takes 30-45 minutes. Some caesarean sections are performed under general anaesthetic.

Find out more about how a caesarean section is carried out.

When a caesarean might be needed

A caesarean section is usually carried out when a normal vaginal birth could put you or your unborn baby at risk, for example because:

  • your labour doesn't progress naturally
  • you go into premature labour
  • you have placenta praevia (where the placenta is low lying in the womb and covering part of the womb entrance)
  • you have a viral infection, such as a first attack of genital herpes
  • your baby is in the breech (feet first) position

Find out more about when a caesarean section is necessary.

Pregnant women are not immediately entitled to a caesarean section if they do not have any physical or mental need for it. If you ask for the operation, you'll be asked why you're requesting it and you'll be given information about the risks and benefits. You should be allowed to have a caesarean if, after discussion and support, you still want to have the operation.

A caesarean section is major surgery and many women opt for a vaginal birth after learning more about what the surgery involves.

New guidelines

In 2011, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published new guidelines on caesarean sections. This aimed to avoid unnecessary operations. 

NICE made a few new recommendations:

  • Some women who are HIV positive and women who have had a previous birth by caesarean section should be offered the option of a vaginal birth.
  • Women should be given antibiotics before surgery (rather than after surgery) to prevent infection.
  • If a woman requests a caesarean section because she's anxious about childbirth, she should be referred to a healthcare professional with expertise in providing mental health support. She should be offered a planned caesarean if, after discussion and support, she still feels a vaginal birth is not an acceptable option.

Read the NICE 2011 guidelines on caesarean section.

Risks

Like any surgery, a caesarean section carries a certain amount of risk, such as the wound becoming infected or the baby developing breathing difficulties. Read more about the risks of a caesarean section.

Recovery

It takes longer to recover from a caesarean section than it does from a vaginal birth. You will typically need to spend three to four days in hospital after surgery. Read more about recovering from a caesarean section.

Page last reviewed: 17/04/2012

Next review due: 17/04/2014

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Comments

The 42 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Lizzie Lewis said on 07 February 2013

I had my beautiful baby boy on 17th September 2012. He was due on the 3rd so was 2 weeks late. I had a very long intensely painful labour from Saturday afternoon when my waters broke until he was delivered on the Monday night. I didn't think they left the baby longer than 24 hours after your waters break but noone seemed concerned by this. By the Monday morning I was begging for an epidural, they were reluctant but eventually agreed. By about 5pm on the Monday the MW said I was fully dialated so she got me pushing for about 2 hours and she was telling me I was doing excellently and that my baby was coming and then all of a sudden she got a doctor in who said I needed to go to theatre to have a forceps delivery. I waited ages before I could be taken into theatre and also once I was there I was waiting ages. But as soon as the surgeon examined me he said I was still only 8 cm dialated and I had to have an emergency ceasarean. They were extremely rough getting my baby out and the pain afterwards was excruciating! I could hardly walk and it continued like this for about 2 months, I still have pain inside and my scar, although it's very neat, still feels weird. I never wanted to have an only child but this really puts me off having another baby as I would certainly not want to go through this again. It really upsets me this was the way it had to be because it was so emotionally and physically painful. However at the end of it all we got our beautiful boy and he really is beautiful.

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donka1 said on 19 January 2013

I was fortunate enough to have a beautiful baby boy delivered to me by emergency c-section in March of last year. I was very keen to have a natural birth and had used hypnobirthing techniques the entire way through my pregnancy. Unfortunately, my baby boy had other ideas and didn't want to come out so at 42 weeks after hanging on for as long as I could (I'm quite stubborn) I was induced. I had a 28 hour labour, haemoerraged and then had an emergency c-section. I am happy to say the whole process was professionally handled. Everything was explained to me. I was rushed through for a caesarean as soon as it was needed and it wasn't traumatic at all. In fact I was chatting to the anaesthetist about running.
When I become pregnant again I will take my health care professionals advice, because that is what they are professionals.
What this birth has taught me is that you need to let go of childbirth as a process you can control. As with all experiences in life you need to let go and embrace the experience for what it is, and whatever it brings you.
If we are lucky enough to become pregnant again I will take my health professionals advice as every pregnancy is different, just as every little baby is.

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lozmw84 said on 10 January 2013

I am 34 weeks pregnant with my second child. I have scoliosis (curved spine) and an irregular heart beat. My first daughter was born naturally in September, i struggled to get my pelvis into a suitable position and her heart rate began to drop. The doctors were preparing to take me to theatre for and emg c section when i finally gave birth. Thankfully my daughter was fine although i suffered from a haemorrage and required stitches. I am currently foghting for a c section for my second child as it is winter and my movement is far more limited than it was previously. The last consultant was a man who refised to listen to my concerns and said he'd cancel all other appointments and see me at 40 weeks. Reading other womens stories i am going to ask to see a different consultant tomprrow when i see my midwife. Im petrified of having a c section but im more concerned with my daugters wellbeing which i feel would be more protected with an elective than emergency.

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vix534 said on 11 November 2012

I had a "crash" emergency c section 16 weeks ago, i wanted to have a vaginal birth however my sons heart rate dropped dangerously low and wasn't raising again so i was rushed in and totally knocked out, it wasn't nice that my husband could not be there, and that i didn't get to hold my baby for a few hours after (as was so spaced out from the drugs) i had managed to go through labour without pain relief and had got to 10cm and was pushing, i felt very low after as i could not do anything for my son as i was so badly bruised i could hardly walk. my son wouldn't take to breast feeding either so i ended up feeling like he didn't like me, of course that has all changed now and he wants to be with me all the time, after his birth i was swearing i would never have another child as the whole thing was so scary, my midwife kept telling me that 1) it wouldn't be the same and 2) i could have an elective section which would not be as bad as this section as due to it being planned i would be able to just have the spinal be awake, husband could be there and they would be more careful meaning i wouldn't be in as much pain and recovery would be quicker. i must admit now i think i would like another child and if i do have another one as much as i would like a vaginal birth it is not a risk i would be prepared to take as emotionally it was awful (the physical pain is easy to deal with) so i would definitely be opting for a section, we should all have the choice as i am sure no one takes the decision lightly and we all have very good reasons for wanting a section!

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moobag23 said on 28 October 2012

I have had to fight to get my C-section booked. I've been suffering from severe PGP since 20 weeks. Baby is due on 9th November and it was only on the 26th October after seeing 3 different consultants that one of them finally listened to my concerns. The others didn't seem to care that I can't walk unaided, open my legs, am in constant agony and have been taking tramadol for the past 4 weeks just to get some sleep.
Is been asking for one since 20 weeks so all I can say is if you don't get the answer you want ask to see a different consultant who will be willing to listen to you.
Luckily the consultant I saw that agreed to do the surgery said I needed it sooner rather than later as I was taking such strong painkillers for so long that there's a chance the baby will be addicted and that there was a risk of my pelvis breaking as she engages. All the other consultants just said if the pain gets too bad go to A&E and they should admit me, give me an epidural so if my pelvis breaks I won't feel it!
So if its what you want fight for it, you have the right to the birth you want. Good luck.

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Hollimum said on 23 October 2012

I had a traumatic natural delivery with my first little girl. I was having contractions for 3 days, went into hospital twice only to be sent home, third time I went in was 7cm dilated which is apparently too late to have an epidural. Established labour was still extremely slow at this point, so 'fore' waters broken and given induction hormone to speed things up. Then found out I had strep B virus in labour so hooked up to drip and fetal heart monitor. Can't remember why but was told I had to stay on the bed, on my back and baby was 'back to back'. at time of delivery I had a team of consultants etc round me whispering about whisking me off for a C-section. It never happened. After delivery I had to stay in hospital with my lg while she undertook a course of anti-biotics planned to last 5 days. Whilst there they did a blood test on me and discovered I was severely anaemic (after having had my blood loss described as 'normal') and I had to have a blood transfusion. Was also discovered that I had post-pre eclampsia so put on course of blood pressure tablets. Ended up staying hospital for a week after the delivery of my little girl and there are many other things I haven't even mentioned such as during my 3 days of labour could not keep any food down and was constantly vomiting, when I had the blood transfusion my hand 'tissued' with the insertion of the canula and required oral morphine for the pain. Then whilst having blood transfusion baby was noticed to be jaundiced and put in incubator. Suffice to say was near impossible to breast feed her under these circumstances. I am petrified of going through something like that again and hope to be able to request a C-section for this baby (I'm 8 weeks pregnant). It may not be natural, but who cares about doing things naturally when it almost kills you??!!! Really scared I'll be turned down from other stories on here, not sure I can go through with a natural labour and delivery again...

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Jennaj89 said on 23 September 2012

joihayes - I agree with you. This is a topic i feel very strongly on and have done since the age of 15. And this is my concern exactly it states you do now have a right to choose but i am hearing a lot of stories that people are getting refused? I am a bit stuck because i dont want to plan my pregnancy just to be told i cant have a C section as i would have no choice but to have an abortion :( I dont feel its acceptable in the 21st century for our decision to be manipulated by any one else. It should be the mothers choice alone.
I also hate the attitude of wait and see you dont know unless you try, its not exactly the kind of situation where you can just wait and see!
If NICE says you can choose then we should be able to choose! Cannot be one rule for one and another for someone else. I feel my deep phsycological reasons are more than justified compared to other stories ive read from people who have been granted a c section.

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joihayes said on 19 September 2012

I`m actually glad to see I`m not the only one being dismissed by midwives and consultants!
I don`t understand why elective c-section can`t actually be my choice if that is what i want! I can`t understand why for everything else they will take my family history in consideration but for my child`s birth they just refuse to do so and want me to believe that after my mum, my aunts and my sisters not being able to deliver naturally I will be able to do so!
They even said that they would never leave me in labour for 48 or 56 hours like happened to some people I met! How they possibly want me to believe that it doesn`t happen or won`t happen to me if happened to people who I know? How do they want me to believe if, like in my family history, I can`t dilate they will give me a C- section if they haven`t done it in many cases I know?
Surely i don`t want my child to be delivered with a forceps that surely causes many problems later in life!
It`s being very stressful seeing them trying to talk me out of it if that`s what I want and I know that will be best for my baby, which is my main concern!
I`m gonna keep trying to explain to the consultants and midwives that all I want is my choice to be respected and have my baby delivered by c-section.

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Jennaj89 said on 10 September 2012

I cant see why any woman would disagree with this! Its about time we had more say in what goes on with our own bodies!
Some of the birth stories ive heard i am surprised we haven’t all rushed to get sterilised!
Of course we have a right to choose! The only thing I argue about this is that it wasn’t an option sooner!!

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Jennaj89 said on 10 September 2012

First of all thank god i read this and feel i am no longer alone in my life long fear of a natrual child birth. I always thought i would never have the chance to be a mother as i always knew id want a C section and could never accept a vaginal delivery. All these people trying to make us feel bad make me sick!! I have personal issues you will never understand. A woman should be able to choose whats best for her and anyone else shouldnt care how a baby comes into the world so long as its healthy!
I pay my share of national insurance contrabutions so why shouldnt i get to choose whats best for me? The anixety i would have all through pregnancy about child birth would be a risk to my unborn baby anyway id be a nervous wreck from start to finish!!
If you are strong and brave enough for a natural birth good for you. But dont you dare come on here at ruin it for the rest of us!! I can understand its not 'natural' but so are a lot of things these days time moves on! Dying of natural causes is natrual that does not mean we dont use drugs and oprtations to keep us alive!

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NRoseFair said on 12 July 2012

I am due my second C-section. C-sections can be tough - the recovery, that is - and certainly not the easy way out. That said, I was left really surprised and disappointed by the treatment I received by many NHS staff when they found out that I was having an elective C-section. (My obstetrician is lovely, thankfully, and has a very good bedside manner). Very disappointingly, the same cannot be said about many midwifes and support staff. I take offence to Waffer 22's comment about diminishing the 'special moment' by opting for a C-Section. As a midwife it is not your job to degrade people and to impose your views, classifying what is right and what it wrong. If we want to talk abou the lack of necessity of medicalizing ordinary life then we can start by talking about the fact that midwifes and doctors take it upon themselves to 'own' the birthing process all together. Almost every single one of my NCT companions were denied their birthing preference at the last minute anyway, being forced to lie on their backs rather than standing up or squatting (which we all know is the natural way to give birth). Lying on your back is not in the best interest of the mother but rather of the peripheral staff who want easy access to see the head and less mess to deal with afterwards. What is the most annoying about these conversations is that the mother in question has all her questions and answers dealt wit hby someone else - ie - the NHS. Where's the individual's voice in this? Where's a mother's choice in this? If C-Sections are not the right of women then neither should the birthing process at all be the right of NHS. Modern medicine should be empowering and helpful, not controlling and facist!
This goes far beyond the birth too - as healthcare workers take ownership on the mothering process through weighing and dictating what you can and can't do. Try weaning your baby earlier than the six months that they've now decided is the 'rule' and see how much shouting you'll receive

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gothicmidnightrose said on 13 April 2012

I've just found out I'm pregnant and I'm terrified. I have a long history of Anorexia Nervosa and was told that my fertility would be affected. I don't know if I'm ready to be a mum.

I have a loving husband, but I also have severe M.E so know that I won't be able to have a normal vaginal birth due to the severe chronic exhaustion I suffer as part of the M.E, but I'm scared that I will be refused a C-Section.:(

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Pauline M Hull said on 05 April 2012

The comments written here echo many of those I hear from the women I've worked with over the years. Personally, I chose to have c-sections with both of our children, but in the UK, there is an ideological push for women to have a 'normal' birth, and for a c-section to be a last resort only. There are some midwives who are open and sympathetic to women who want to choose a caesarean, but there are many who are not - and the same is true of NHS obstetricians. The phrase "postcode lottery" is far more applicable to this birth choice than the phrase "too posh to push".
With permission, I'd like to mention the book that I have co-authored on this subject, and to stress that its purpose is not to advocate c-sections for all - but rather to make the case that this choice should be respected and supported during an individual consultation.
It's called Choosing Cesarean, A Natural Birth Plan, and is published by Prometheus Books.
Thank you

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EllyBellz said on 02 April 2012

This comment is in response to the comment left by JT1987. I too fell pregnant at 20 and have a 'morbid fear' of child birth. I brought up my fears with my midwife who was very understanding and got me an appointment to see a consultant (I have a past history of severe depression and was high risk for post-natal depression, my midwife was worried that if I was forced to do what I felt I could not do would drastically increase the risk even more). The first few I saw were very dismissive and treated me like dirt, reducing me to floods of tears each time, so much so that we had to file a complaint of their treatment of me. My fears we not petty, I am not 'too posh to push' as I was told and they were real enough for me to consider termination. During one of my anti-natal sessions I fainted when the midwife was pushing the baby doll through the model pelvis. I saw quite a few consultants until I found the one who would stand up for me (surprisingly that consultant was a man). He was so shocked by the way my case had been handled and by how long it had all taken (by now I was 38 weeks pregnant) that he got me in to see the surgeon who did the sections at the hospital I would deliver at. She too was appalled by what had gone on and had no problem with giving me the caesarean that I so desperately wanted. A week later I had my daughter via elective C-section with no complications. I was in theatre for less than 30 minutes and was pretty much back to normal within about a week. My daughter had no problems, was handed to me as soon as she had been delivered and is now a happy healthy 8 month old. I have had no issues with post-natal depression and didn't even get any baby blues. I will forever be in debt to those who helped me to have my baby the way that I wanted and I feel deeply saddened that JT1987 had to go through what she did. It is your body and your child, every woman should have the right to have their baby how they feel they must.

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Just73 said on 21 March 2012

I have had 2 elective sections one in 2003 and 1 just 2 weeks ago. My first section was for personal reasons due to a history of trauma, consequently my second pregnancy was more complicated but I was offered a section with no obstruction from medical or midwifery staff.
I was extremely well supported by both my consultants in the RVI in Newcastle Upon Tyne and by all the midwives - and could not have had a more positive experience.
Some of the stories on here are so sad, I am a midwife myself and am horrified by the lack of support some ladies are receiving, also to the student midwives comments in a previous comment. The word Midwife - means with woman, this means supporting women to have a positive birth experience however they choose to deliver, rather than forcing your own agenda - with comments like 'that is what you body was intended for' sometimes vaginal delivery just is not possible and sections are the reasons why maternal and neonatal death rates are falling. Vaginal delivery at any cost is just not responsible or fair to women.
My advice would be if your midwife or obstetrician is not willing to discuss your options, feeling and fears - request another appointment with someone who will listen and give you the support you need. The end goal should always be a happy health mother and baby - however the baby is delivered.

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doodiesgirl said on 15 March 2012

I Had A C-Section A Year Ago, My Waters Broke At 37 Weeks had No Contractions So Was Induced But Was Not Dialating Any Further Than 2cms; A Year On I Still Cannot Feel The Bottom Part of My Stomach ( Below Belly Button) And Have Lost Weight But This 'Bulge' Which I have No Feeling In From The Section Just Wont Budge. Will The NHS Do A Tummy Tuck After You've Had A C-Section? Thanks

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JT1987 said on 22 February 2012

I can fully understand the argument from both sides. I fell pregnant at 20, and was/is so scared that i can not set foot in a maternity department, and haven't been able to for as long as i can remember. To talk about Birth physically makes me sick and very light headed. I am seeing my Councillor for this, from when falling pregnant I raised these concerns with my GP and also hospital staff and because i could not be offered a C-section myself and my partner made the decision that we would terminate the pregnancy, this even to this day and forever more broke my heart and i suffer very bad with depression following this. It inst something to be taken lightly and i know that unless i can have a c section as even my Councillor has agreed this will be the only way i will be able to handle pregnancy and becoming a mum, i will never have children.
No part of medical training should give a person the right to overrule what you feel and the limits that you know your body can take.
As said i suffer with severe guilt and it effects me throughout the year and every time i look at my godson as my baby would have been the same age. We at the moment 5 years on, dont know where to turn to too ensure that we have the right for a section, and at the moment the only way we can see is going private with is in the region of 10-12000£.
Has anyone else been in this position

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cghill said on 21 February 2012

II hqd my 1st baby by emer section after 2 wks overdue,induced, failure to progress, baby was 8lb 14oz. I had no trouble recovering or looking after my daughter. 2nd was an elective as I could not go through what happened with the first, and I was adamant. Now pregnant with my 3rd and will have to have a section as its too dangerous for a vaginal birth, rupturing of the scar and danger to the baby. I only had epidural/spinal, recovered quickly, was up and out of the bed, lifting my baby, painful but did it. I am a bit sad I will never experience pushing my children out but sometimes it has to be done. There are so many horror stories out there about sections but mine were fine and I was looked after by an excellent team. I have known people who had 4 and over 40 as well so it can be done!

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maggiedo said on 26 January 2012

My waters broke at 9 days OD. No sign of labor within 48hours so I was induced. I got to 8cm dilated and was on a permanent contraction when a relief midwife covering someones break felt my abdomen and decided to do a scan. My boy was breech and I was rushed in for an emergency section. Up to that point about 7 midwives and 2 doctors felt the baby and a student doctor was the only one to say it felt unusual during an internal. Her supervisor then told her she was wrong!
If your waters break and you dont go into labour please push for a scan! They may be able to turn your baby in time for a vb if they realise in time!

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kallumsmamma said on 18 January 2012

i got to 15 days over with my son. when i was at the hospital to be induced, i got to 4 cm dilated. my sons heart rate dropped dangerously and i was rushed in for a section. they woke me three hours later, and i was around the 20th person to meet my son. it was so difficult to bond with him at first, but a bond takes time and effort to make. i always wish i had a natural delivery, but at least my son got here safe. so yeah it might not be totally natural, but sometimes there are only two choices. life or death.

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mrsflissyg said on 16 January 2012

to piper81 I had a code one emergency section with my daughter, apart from her complications I have smuggled psychiatrically ever since. I have been diagnosed with complex post traumatic stress disorder and just like you cannot even think of doing it all again! we have been asked by the hospital to launch a major investigation and apart from the birth being a nightmare the support from the head gynaecologist has been overwhelming. he has basically said that he wouldn't allow me to try VBAC and rather would support us through a planned section should we ever feel that we could put ourselves through I again. ou must insist and explain what has happened to you and get someone on side who understands you like our guy does with us. you shouldn't even be being it through this so go banging some fists on tables and make them sit up and realise that you have fears and anxietys but that you want more children! good luck with it! x

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SM23 said on 02 November 2011

ShaniceS301111 - my daughter was breech at 36 weeks and I had elective caesarean. I think most hospitals offer this as there aren't enough midwives/consultants who are experienced in delivering breech babies now. Like you, I turned down ECV as I read that it can bring on labour. One thing I will say is that if you get any pains call the hospital, my daughter came along at 37 weeks (she was planned c-section at 39). I thought I just had bad wind from Boxing Day dinner and they strapped monitor to me; they then did an internal and triggered off contractions. Also, it is really hard work following c-section, you can't do skin-to-skin and you can't pick them up in hospital without getting someone to help you but I'm with you on the reasons. I'm 16 weeks with my second now and have been told I will have to have VBAC this time which makes me shudder. Good luck with it all x

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User612111 said on 02 November 2011

hi, im currently 36 weeks pregnant and have known for a few months now that my baby is breech i was just wondering if anyone could tell me does this automatically mean i will be booked in for a c-section or will i have to deliver naturally? ive heard there are quite a few risks in delivering a breech baby naturally and i am quite concerned i might have to do this, i know i can decline an ECV which i intend to do i am just very uncertain what will happen next.
any advice would be much appreciated.

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sarmoo said on 09 October 2011

The other side to this is women who have no choice but to have c-sections. My daughter was born in 2004, after three days of failed induction she got distressed and I had an emergancy c-section. I found it difficult to bond with her over the first few days, and the recovery was tough. The comments I recieved from mainly women were horrible, the it's unnatural, think you're too posh to push, and you didn't give birth at all. I felt like a failure as a woman. When my son was born in early 2010 I had been given the option of an elective c-section and declined. I wanted a V-Bac, my health team went throught the risks of this with me, and there are risks of rupture etc but I was determinded to have my son naturally, so I wouldn't feel like such an unnatural woman. I went 13 days over and again they tried an induction, my son went into distress and again I had another c-section. I am now expecting my third and have been told that I will not be aloud a V-BAC and the risks to myself and baby are too high. I have also been advised not to have any more children as the risks to both mother and baby during a fourth c-section are considerly higher. I had always wanted four children. My point is there are many many reason's for people to have c-sections, and as a result there are way way less still births, but how can people call it unnatural. The most natural thing in the world is for a mother to have her baby in her arms after it is born, regardless of how it is born.

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fifi24 said on 05 September 2011

I had a 9lb 14oz first baby in 2008 by emergency c section. I went 2 weeks over and was about to be induced when his heart rate was monitored and it was dropping). I am now 36 weeks with number 2 and saw my consultant today, when i saw her at 20 weeks i said i would consider a VBAC but i changed my mind in these last 16 weeks and told her i wanted an elective section. She didn't even question me at all she just called the delivery suite and booked it there and then. Maybe it is certain hospitals that are more opposed, i am with UHND Durham hospital in the North East. As far as i am aware you cannot request a section for no other reason than medical in the 1st pregnancy but if you have had a section there is always a risk (even if slim) and should be given a section if you request it.

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keekee999 said on 25 August 2011

Hi - I am a 25 year old woman and I have known for a long time that I want to have a Cesarean when I have children. I don't really care what people think of that, I don't even mind if the midwives think it's unnatural and not normal, because I choose to have a Cesarean as it's my body and I will do what I want - thanks!

People need to stop being so worried what midwives/doctors think and just do what they know will make them happier. I personally do not want to ever have a vaginal birth - whats wrong with that? It doesn't mean I will ever love my babies any less, I already love them and they're not even here yet.

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piper81 said on 19 July 2011

Two years ago I gave birth to my second child; my first weighed 8lb and my second weighed 9lb6. I am quite small, as 5ft1. The birth of my second child was particularly traumatic, as she was so large and the placenta did not come out easily. I also lost a lot of blood, had a catheta fitted and left the hospital a trembling wreck on the same day that she was born. Following this, I was in and out of hospital with chest pains and they thought I had a blood clot for quite a while. I was finally diagnosed with acute medical anxitey and depression. A doctor who my mum paid for me to see privately, suggested that I should be admitted to a psychiatric ward. However, my family looked after me and after being put on a heavy dose of anti-depressants, beta-blockers and valium, I finally managed to feel normal again. Two and a half years later, I am now off all of the medication, but only just. The problem that I have is that my husband and I would love to have another child one day, but I am am totally terrified of going through this whole experience again. I blame my initial psychological breakdown on the trauma of the birth and I want to know whether I would be eligible for an elective cesaerean on the NHS? There is no way that I can put my body through the trauma of another natural birth.

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piper81 said on 18 July 2011

I gave birth naturally to my second child two years ago; my first weighing 8lb and my second 9lb6. I am quite small at 5ft and both births were very traumatic. I only had gas and air as pain relief for both and went home a shaking wreck, haivng lost a lot of blood. I then suffered from anxiety and depression to such an extent that one doctor suggested that I should be sectioned and I was put on a large cocktail of drugs, that I am just now finished with.
The trauma of the labours is what I blame for the complete breakdown of my mental health. Now, I am fine, but I am terrified to go through that again. My husband and I would like to start trying for a final child next year, but I know that I could not possibly put myself through another natural birth and he agrees. Would I be eligible for a c-section? Please say 'yes'?!

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Lis72 said on 09 June 2011

Wafer22, are you a man by any chance?! I think it's highly disrespectful to say there is nothing special about a c-section. I had to have an emergency one after getting to 8cm, and it was the only positive part of the whole experience. How can you tell me that giving birth to my beautiful son is not special?
I also think it's very unrealistic to say that all vaginal births are wonderful & magical, as though it's like it is on the telly! Sure it's great for the Dad, what about the poor mother!! In an ideal world we'd all have vaginal births & bond perfectly with our children (which I'm sure happens to some very lucky people!). Unfortunately life isn't fair sometimes, and we should not be made to feel like we have had lesser birthing experiences.

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louisecrane said on 08 May 2011

i am 10wks pregnant with my 3rd child, after 2 emergancy sections will i be able to choose this time? as awful as it sounds i refuse to be away from my kids (one has asd) for longer than needed and feel that another induction (the last took 3 days) and a pointless labour leading to another emergency section isnt in our best interests as a family. as yet i havent had so much as a phone call from my midwife despite having a bleed at 6 wks and would appreciate any advice.

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Lisa907 said on 07 May 2011

As a medical student I have had the opportunity to observe and be involved to some degree in pre-natal, labour and post natal care and it has really made me think that giving birth naturally is not right for everyone.
Obviously there are physical reasons why C sections are indicated but there are also psychological ones. And I am afraid that my experience is that midwives are not generally very open to that fact, predominantly, I think, because they do not have sufficient training in mental health.
Many seem to take some pride in being able to tell women that they will have to go through labour whether or not they like it because that is the natural option and the best one. But I think that is very unfair.
Sure, having a C section is unatural. But if you think of it, the point of the whole of medicine is to go against nature and improve it. It's not natural to take medicines, but if we still do.
I think that to go through labour is not just physically but psychologically demanding and it should not be forced on people. Women should not be scared to attempt a natural birth and should be well supported in doing so. But if a woman really feels that it is not the right option for her, that should be respected. Everything in medicine is a question of balancing risks and benefits. A C sections has risks, but if it's going to mean a more positive experience for a woman, i think it's worth it. For some people that is the right option. It does not make you less of a woman and it can be just as wonderful and fulfilling as a natural birth.
I feel sorry for those of you who struggle to have C sections when you want them. I think the system is unfair and my only advice would be to be really firm.

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mumoftwo123 said on 26 April 2011

I had my son in January 2010. Weighing 9lb10.5oz he just got stuck in my small frame. After pushing for 2.5 hours they started talking about emergency c-section. However, a doctor/theatre wasn't available quick enough and I didn't have an epidural in place when my baby's heart rate dropped, and they had to pull him out with forceps. I tore through my whole perineum and right back into my rectum. I was then separated from my son for 4 hours whilst I was given a general anaesthetic and surgery to repair the tear. I had severed two blood vessels and also had a PPH so lost a lot of blood and later had to have a large blood transfusion. Because I was separated from my baby and so weak from loss of blood I was unable to breastfeed. I had nightmares and flashbacks for 4 months until I had counselling, which really helped.

I am now pregnant again, and I am having an elective c-section on 3rd June. I wanted it for physical reasons as I had been told another tear like that could leave me incontinent for life, not to mention the 6 month recovery period. I was referred to the consultant midwife, and we talked through the options. Talking about the possibility of a natural birth brought me to tears, and so I was granted the c-section but for psychological reasons, not physical.

Shelby4911, they may give you a c-section for psychological reasons, it depends on your case. I think the most important thing is that you get to speak to the right person, I found that talking to midwives and registrars left me very confused, but once I saw the consultant and consultant midwife who actually make the decision, they really listened to me and made a fair decision. Ask your midwife to refer you to a consultant midwife, and be firm if you need to. Best of luck.

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shelby4911 said on 28 March 2011

Hi I have been given mixed info on whether or not I can have an elective c section due to a sexual attack. I don't think I could cope with vaginal pain or splitting due to the nature if the attack and would completely freak if I had to be sewn up. I am really worried about this and it is marring the pregnancy for me? Is there an option for this or would this not be taken into consideration? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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wafer22 said on 13 February 2011

As a student midwife I think it only fair to defend my profession and give another side to the argument.
Natural labour is championed by us because it was what your body was intended for. You have breasts to feed your baby and a vagina to reproduce and deliver your baby. There is nothing natural about cutting a baby out of a womans body.
Labour wouldn't be called labour if it was easy, its hard bloody work but having been in the delivery room many times. There is nothing more special than literally watching the dads chest swell with pride at mums achievement, and watching the tears of joy roll down his cheeks.
It is a magical moment and I think every mother should want to experience it, and they shouldnt let their fear of the unknown, or past experiences put them off.
Birth should not be medicalised to the point where people book into have their labour. Its not natural and theres nothing special about it.
C-Section should only take place if labour would put mum or babies health at risk.
Your midwife should ultimately be there to support you no push you into something you dont want to do. I'm sorry you have been made to feel like that. But don't tarr us all with the same brush.

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User527775 said on 10 February 2011

It is not true that a woman can choose whether to have a c-section or not on the nhs if there are no health concerns.

When I had my boy, I was pretty much forced into having a natural labour. Comments such as "You've never done it before so how do you know" and "The baby's going to come one day whether you like it or not" were thrown around all through my pregnancy and it really upset me that nobody would listen.

Despite the fact that I have a history of mental illness and sexual abuse did not matter to them in the slightest. As a result, I suffered flashbacks that turned the thought of having another child into a nightmare just based upon this reason. I could deal with the pain, it was the feeling of vunerability and distress I couldn't handle.

The midwives on the labour ward were very sympathetic and comforting towards me when I told them what I had been through. It was the midwife at my GP's surgery that was the major problem. She made it very clear that no matter how stressed or ill I got because of the upcoming labour that I would never get what I wanted. The fact that she missed the pre-eclampsia I was suffering with just prooves my case further.

The event of the birth made my borderline personality ten times worse afterwards and I still have to talk about it in therapy to this day. I felt let down by the people who were supossed to be caring for me.

To the women reading this site, being drawn into the false sense of security that they are in control is utter rubbish. If, like me, you are hell bent on a elective c-section, I wish you the best of luck. You'll be going around in circles until it's too late.
No woman should be made to feel like they can't trust their midwives.

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krizzooo1 said on 19 November 2010

Tolson . .. . .I really feel for your wife...she must persist though with her wishes....I had my first after 10 days late, a 3 day labour, no progression, meconium in waters & a list of other problems by emergency c-section.
The spinal didn't work as it should I panicked and felt more than i should of....i ended up having a general.
I sawthe obstetrician yesterday, he did try to convince me natural this time round......(i lost alot of blood last time...2 units) due to blood loss last time But my partner and I stood by our wishes and made them heard, he was then fine with this.....Your wife must press the midwives etc and get another obstetrician apt!!!
I could not bear to go through what happened last time. I hope she persists and gets what she wants! and should be offered!!!!!Don't accept no!

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Tolson said on 17 November 2010

My wife is due 8th December. She saw the consultant today and requested a caesarean as she had a difficult delivery with our 1st child and after a long induced labour she had to have an emergency caesarean. The consultant denied her request which has really up set her. On this site it says you can have a caesarean as a selected option for personal reasons, if this is not true I feel it should be removed from the site. What are my wife's real options can she select to have a caesarean???

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Nitoo said on 23 February 2010

I had a c-section with my first baby and my milk supply struggled to come but my baby was taken away from me and put in NICU so I believe it was only because I was unable to have skin to skin contact. http://www.womenhealthline.com I am due to have another c-section in 11 days and hope to breastfeed this one as long as I can get the skin to skin contact. I do think that a c-section sounds scarier than it actually is but everyone recovers differently, my only advice is to try and relax about it- easier said than done though! Also I got a bit of an over hang but as I started losing more weight it started to disappear but I have lots of bad stretch marks and think that it affected my over hang. (Hope that makes sense).

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a1homemum said on 29 January 2010

I have had two c sections due to suffering from pre eclampsia and now after 8 years found myself pregnant again and have been told i have to have another c section. The 1st one i had was emergency and i was surprised how quick i recovered (a week) but the second I asked for and i dont know if it was because the muscles had been already cut before but i recovered even quicker. The hospital have told me that as this is my third it takes slightly longer to do as they take more care but recover will be hopefuller easier. I would advise anyone to have a section for one you are given more care and second although you have some discomfort after you dont have all the endless labour pain, after birth or labour.

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User249598 said on 20 July 2009

my partner and myself are thinking about whether to have a 3rd child, I have already had 2 c sections, the first an emergency procedure and the second an elected, with my second I lost alot of blood and ended up anaemic , I would like to know how high the risk is to have another baby, obviously we would not consider having another if the risk to the baby or myself was high .

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keriann said on 15 July 2009

I had a emergancy caeserean in April this year, my baby was breech and sitting on the cord- I was 10 days overdue. Having a c- section was not something I liked the idea of throughout my pregnancy but as soon as I heard the word breech I didnt hesitate for a second- like you, the thought of my baby being at risk and wanting her delivered safely overrode everything else.
It took 3 attempts to administer the spinal block- 45 minutes later they managed it and delivered my beautiful daughter Emily 8lb12oz, she is now 13weeks old and every day she amazes me.
I guess im trying to say in a long winded kind of way that although c secton sounded scary (and is portrayed as this) it doesnt compare in the slightist to not having my daughter.
My recovery has been hassle free and breastfeeding extremely successful. All staff encountered from labour to leaving the hospital were fantastic.
When I decide to have another baby I will definately have another section and would personally recommend it.

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xlau said on 15 June 2009

i am due to have my first baby on 18th august this year, i have been going to welholme childrens centre for my midwife appointments, i havent had the same midwife more than once, i have some concerns and i dont know who to talk to.
I would like to have my baby delivered by caeserean section. This isnt something i have thought about lightly but i have my reasons. My sister lost a baby 12 months ago during labour, unfortunatly they did a emergency caeserean but didnt get the baby out quick enough, There has been a inquest in to the death of her child due to neglect. This was obviously a distressing time for my family. There is a history of still births in my family and like me my sister asked for a caeserean originally but was refused and now she has no baby.
I couldnt bare this to happen to me, i am struggling sleeping and am really worried about this.
Do i have the right to have a caeserean? all this stress is making me ill.
Please can you give me some advise

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