UK Says Every Woman Has A Right To An Elective C-Section

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black pregnant womanIt used to be that in the United Kingdom, expectant mothers were only given c-sections if they were medically necessary. But our friends over the pond will soon be publishing some new health guidelines which detail updated policies on the procedure. The UK’s publically-funded healthcare system will make c-sections available to all women — even those capable of giving birth naturally.

Under these new guidelines, women who are seeking an elective c-section will be encouraged to discuss the decision in depth with her doctor and/or midwife. If the soon-to-be mommy still wants the procedure after said discussion, she is entitled to one under the UK”s National Health Service.

Dr. Bryan Beattie who drafted the new guidelines, says that the policy was made in part to involve women more in birthing decisions:

“Ten or 15 years ago there may have been a better argument for saying no, but caesarean sections have become much safer. We have closed the gap to the extent that you really do have to bring in maternal choice as part of the decision-making process.”

Doctors who are against performing elective c-sections will be required to refer the woman to another physician. But with these new guidelines also come increased cost, as a caesarean section is estimated to be about £800 more than a natural deliver delivery, according to Daily Mail. About a quarter of babies born in the UK are c-section babies, in stark contrast to the American number of one in three. But with this free pass to c-sections, the increase is speculated to cost the UK quite a lot in federal health care costs.

While I support women having more of a say in how exactly they want their babies delivered, more babies being born via c-section by women capable of vaginal birth isn’t exactly wonderful. Contrary to public opinion, c-sections are a major abdominal with added complications, risks, and recovery. I don’t doubt that the procedure has gotten safer, as Dr. Beattie notes. But c-sections are also observed by physicians to cause more complications and at higher costs. Overall, elective c-sections don’t benefit mothers or babies, and they can also hinder the development of said baby if performed too early — as they often are.

But since the UK is having women speak extensively with their doctor prior to going under the knife, I’m sure British mommies will be confronted with these facts before committing to the procedure. It is, after all, their choice.

(photo: Shutterstock)