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RCOG statement on The Lancet series about caesarean births

News 12 October 2018

Please attribute the following statement to Dr Alison Wright, Vice President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG):

“The RCOG is committed to helping every woman have a good birth, with the best possible experience, which includes facilitating and supporting women to make informed choices about how they give birth. We are working with other UK organisations to promote vaginal births wherever appropriate and where a caesarean birth is the safest option for mother and baby this should always be recommended.

“The RCOG is also working with the World Health Organization and International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics to explore reasons for varying caesarean rates globally and responding to requests from countries with high caesarean birth rates to support training for healthcare professionals.

“The overwhelming majority of elective caesarean births in the UK are offered for clinical reasons, such as a baby being in a breech position, although some may be for maternal choice, which should also be supported. An emergency or unplanned caesarean birth may be performed when there are acute concerns about the mother’s or baby’s wellbeing or when labour is not progressing.

“The need for a medical intervention during birth can vary dramatically across counties, regions and services, depending on the local demographics and the health needs of women, as well as the availability of healthcare services.”



A caesarean is a safe medical procedure but as with any operation, there are risks involved and it is important women are aware of these risks and benefits when discussing their options.

RCOG information for women considering a caesarean birth

RCOG statement in response to the Birthrights report on maternal request for a caesarean birth

The World Health Organization (WHO) discourages the practice of aiming for target rates, and underscores the importance of focusing on the needs of women, on a case by case basis.   

The Lancet series