Promoting normality in childbirth

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7322.1142 (Published 17 November 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:1142

This article has a correction. Please see:

Women and professionals should be encouraged to consider vaginal birth positively

  1. Richard Johanson, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist,
  2. Mary Newburn, head of policy research, National Childbirth Trust
  1. Academic Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, North Staffordshire Hospital Trust, Stoke on Trent, ST4 6QG

    See also Papers p 1155

    Researchers have shown much interest in possible explanations for rising caesarean section rates.1 Consumer choice is seen as being very influential. An often cited survey of London obstetricians found that 31% would choose caesarean section as their preferred mode of delivering babies. 2 3 However, there appear to be paradoxes within this decision making process.4

    Professionals choose abdominal delivery, on the basis that it appears to be “easier, less painful and more convenient,” even though they consider it to be more expensive and dangerous than a vaginal delivery.4 A subsequent study, with a wider national base, found a more balanced attitude to normal birth, but this has yet to be commented on in the national press.5 National data in this area have been collected and the results of the national sentinel audit of caesarean section were presented at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists on 26 October 2001. Accurate comparative figures on rates, indications, standards which can be audited, women's views …

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