Overcoming Pressure: Advocating for a C-section When It’s Needed

Despite approximately one-third of babies in the UK being born by caesarean section, with about half of these planned, there persists a significant stigma surrounding elective C-sections. Shockingly, reports of women being denied this procedure, even when they request it, are not uncommon.

However, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. A recent parliamentary inquiry into birth trauma has called for a national strategy to enhance maternity care, asserting that women are often treated as an inconvenience and advocating for the respect of women’s choices regarding childbirth.

But in the interim, why does stigma persist around opting for a caesarean, and how can expectant mothers advocate for themselves if they desire this procedure?

Former Made In Chelsea star Louise Thompson shared an extract from her new book, Lucky: Learning To Live Again, revealing her traumatic experience of being denied a C-section during the birth of her son Leo in 2021, which led to severe complications. Her story underscores the critical importance of respecting women’s individual needs and preferences in childbirth planning.

Dr. Ranee Thakar, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), emphasizes the significance of open communication between pregnant individuals and healthcare professionals. She asserts that personal feelings, concerns, and opinions should be central to discussions about birth plans, with particular attention given to the benefits and risks of both vaginal and caesarean births.

Dr. Shazia Malik, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, challenges outdated perceptions of elective C-sections, emphasizing the multitude of valid reasons why a woman may opt for this procedure. She stresses the importance of individualized care and the need for expectant mothers to feel empowered in their decision-making process.

Amina Hatia, a midwife and midwifery manager at Tommy’s charity, advocates for informed decision-making and encourages women to seek support if they feel their choices are not being respected. She highlights the societal pressures and unrealistic ideals that can influence women’s perceptions of childbirth, emphasizing the importance of personalized care and support.

Emma Armstrong, also known as The Naked Doula, shares her experiences as a birth doula and caesarean mother, challenging misconceptions about the ease of C-sections. She emphasizes the significance of informed decision-making and the need for compassionate, respectful care throughout the childbirth journey.

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