Decline in Caesareans opens up scope for natural births

The number of women having natural births has risen while the rise in Caesarean sections has frozen.

Figures from the Department of Health has shown that the percentage of natural births of all registered deliveries rose from 45 to 47 per cent over the past two years. The number of caesareans, which once rose by one per cent every year, tellingly remained at 22 per cent.

Mary Newburn, of the National Childbirth Trust, told BBC News Online that the figures make terrific reading, rewarding the Trust's campaign to raise awareness of Caesareans and their consequences, which include wound infections for the mother and breathing difficulties for the child.

However, Mrs Newburn also noted that Britain's Caesarean rate is still far higher than the 10 per cent recommended by the World Health Organization., and stressed the need "to make sure women are cared for in a way that makes it easier for them to choose a natural birth."

Indeed, following the publication of the results, the NHS will also continue with its own campaign to reduce the number of caesareans, urging women not to have an artificially-induced labour if they are simply "too posh to push".

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence, the NHS watchdog, is from the end of April introducing guidelines advising doctors of the need for a medical reason to justify a Caesarean.

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