Clare Murphy, Director of External Affairs at bpas, said:
“This important report from Birthrights highlights that only 1 in 4 NHS Trusts is offering women caesarean sections in line with NICE best-practice guidance. Women have reported being met with judgemental, dismissive or even hostile responses from healthcare professionals when requesting a caesarean section, at a vulnerable time in their lives. It is deeply disheartening that women’s dignity and autonomy in childbirth is being disregarded in this way. A woman may request a caesarean section for any number of reasons, including a previous traumatic birth experience, a mental health issue or simply because she has made a personal decision about what is right for her after looking at the evidence. Women’s choices in childbirth should be respected, and they should not have to negotiate an opaque, inconsistent or lengthy process in order to access their preferred method. That a woman’s mode of childbirth should come down to a postcode lottery, with some NHS Trusts routinely denying women maternal request caesarean sections, is unacceptable.”
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Notes to Editors:
bpas is a charity which sees more than 70,000 women a year and provides reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception, at clinics across the UK. It supports and advocates for reproductive choice. More information can be found at bpas.org.