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Caesarean Section

Please note our Caesarean section resource is currently being updated and is unavailable for order at this time.

Most healthy pregnant women can expect the natural process of labour to result in the vaginal birth of a healthy baby. Despite this fact caesarean section has become the most commonly performed surgical        procedure in the western world. Caesarean section rates continue to rise, while mounting evidence of the short and long term harms that having a caesarean poses for mothers and babies continues to emerge. When a caesarean section is really necessary it can be a life-saving operation for a mother and/or her baby. However, because so many of the caesarean sections performed these days are not necessary, the result has been a rapid rise in significant harms to both mothers and babies.

The Maternity Services Consumer Council has produced a pamphlet to provide you with evidence-based information about caesarean sections. Information in the pamphlet covers:

  • What is a caesarean section?
  • Absolute Indications for a caesarean section
  • Debatable Indications for a caesarean section
  • Elective caesarean sections
  • Minimising the risks
  • Maternal mortality
  • Short-term harms to mothers
  • Long-term harms to mothers
  • Short-term harms to baby
  • Long-term risks to baby
  • Non medical reasons for caesareans
  • Unnecessary caesareans
  • How to avoid unnecessary caesareans

Before you give consent to a caesarean section your midwife or doctor should make sure you understand why the operation is being recommended. The following questions will help you make an informed choice:

  • Is this an emergency or do we have time to talk?
  • Why are you recommending this operation?
  • What are the risks to me or the baby if I choose not to have the operation?
  • What could happen if we waited an hour or two?
  • Is there anything else we could try at this stage?
  • Can we wait to go into spontaneous labour? (in the case of an elective caesarean section being suggested)

You have the right to privacy while you make your decision. It is okay to ask the person to leave while you discuss your options with your partner and/or whanau or in the case of an elective caesarean to ask for more written information to take away and consider before deciding what your     answer is. You also have the right to ask for a second opinion from another health professional.

The primary reason for the increasing rates of intervention certainly is a quasi-cultural and universal lack of understanding of the basic needs of women in labour.”(3)

If you would like to receive a copy of our pamphlet or wish to order copies for your practice, then please contact us at mscc@maternity.org.nz or download a copy of our order form.