Midwives will support women’s choice says RCM on global caesarean study in Lancet

on 11 October 2018 Caesarean Section Midwifery Continuity of Carer - MCOC Women's Choice NICE - The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

Today, research published in The Lancet shows that globally, the number of babies born through caesarean section almost doubled between 2000 and 2015 – from 12% to 21% of all births. The authors found that the global increases in caesarean section use are attributed both to more births taking place in health institutions and to greater frequency of intervention through caesarean section in health facilities.

Commenting on the research, Mandy Forrester, Head of Quality and Standards at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “This research clearly shows not only the level of caesarean sections in the UK and elsewhere, but also the implications for women who have one.  There will always be women who for medical reasons need a caesarean, but there are many, as this research shows, which are not needed.

“For the UK it must be stressed that there are different risk levels around caesarean section depending on where in the world the operation takes place. However, we are seeing evidence of the harm caused by repeated caesarean section in research coming out such as the MBRRACE* study.

“What is crucial is that women are aware of the potential complications of having a caesarean section in the short and long term.  To ensure this happens we need to give midwives the time to sit and discuss a woman’s options for the birth of her baby. It is very important that women make their decisions based on the best available evidence. This is so that they can make the decision that is right for them and their birth.

“It is also important that women get continuity of carer during and after their pregnancy. This is the woman seeing the same midwife or group of midwives. When the woman knows and trusts her midwives she will be more likely to share her concerns about her pregnancy. The midwife in turn will be better able to support the woman through her pregnancy.

“Nice guidelines on caesarean section support midwives and their colleagues to in turn support women to make their decision. Midwives will respect a woman’s choice and support her in her choice.”

The Lancet research can be viewed at http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)31928-7/fulltext (from 23.30 Thursday, 11th October 2018).

*For information on the MBRRACE research see https://www.npeu.ox.ac.uk/mbrrace-uk.

To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email [email protected].

Note to editors

For information on continuity of carer see the RCM publications listed below:

Click here to read the RCM Continuity Care of Position Statement

Click here to read the RCM guidance on ‘The contribution of continuity of midwifery care to high quality maternity care’ 

For more information on the RCM’s Annual Conference see https://www.rcm.org.uk/rcm-events

The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.