Thinking Through The Debate About Caesarean Section “On Demand”

Vicki Van Wagner, RM, PhD (Candidate)

The debate about choosing Caesarean section when there is no medical indication raises many questions for midwives and other maternity care providers about choice, risk, normal birth and our role in a society where attitudes towards technology are changing. Both the popular and professional literature about this debate and the claims of benefit to fetus and mother need to be examined in a social and political context. Midwives have an important role to play in emphasizing that the safest system of care would support low intervention approaches to vaginal birth for the majority of women. The overwhelming reason women choose Caesarean section is fear and anxiety about birth. The request for Caesarean surgery “on demand” can be seen, in part, as a call to improve care for pregnant women and vaginal birth.

maternal request, Caesarean section, elective, vaginal delivery

This article has been peer-reviewed.


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