Joanne Gallacher
By Joanne Gallacher

Caesarean section rates to go up

Caesareans for anxious pregnant women on the NHS

Caesarean section rates to go upHospitals around the UK are to relax the rules on caesarean births amid concerns that some expectant mothers are so afraid of childbirth they seek an abortion.

Caesarean section rates will obviously increase but the government are fully backing the new initiative.

Once published, the new NHS guidelines will mean that pregnant women who are anxious about labour will be able to have the operation even if there is no medical justification for it.

Currently they are only offered a planned caesarean in certain circumstances, such as if they are expecting twins or triplets, they have high blood pressure or diabetes, or the foetus is in the wrong position. But under the new guidelines from the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence, women with mental health issues’ including fear or anxiety will also be eligible.

Senior doctors and charities say that some women are so afraid of giving birth naturally that they are having their pregnancies terminated.

This fear of childbirth is known as tokophobia and it is estimated to affect one in ten expectant mothers.

NICE estimates that a planned caesarean costs the NHS an average of £2,369 while a natural birth costs £1,665.

In some cases tokophobia is brought on by previous traumatic experiences but in others it is simply an irrational fear with no apparent cause.

The latest figures show that 24 per cent of women give birth by caesarean, up 12 per cent from 1990.

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