C-section over natural labour : Hi all, wondered if... - NCT


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C-section over natural labour

Aussie83 profile image

Hi all, wondered if anyone has experience with his - are we able to request to have a c-section with NHS? Is it our right to choose or will they try to push you into natural labour unless you have a medical reason for a c-section? Thanks a lot x

57 Replies

Hi there, when I did my antenatal course with NCT, they confirmed you can request one by law in the UK. It is your legal right to do so. A consultant I met at a breech clinic also confirmed this.

I asked for one for a medical reason and there was no pressure on me to go for an alternative options although there were alternative birthing options. I don’t know if there is a protocol for if a woman just chooses an elective c section. There may some information on the NHS website.

All the best x

I found this which I thought you would find helpful nhs.uk/conditions/caesarean...

Aussie83 profile image
Aussie83 in reply to JoyfulStar

Thanks so much. I do have a medical reason that could factor in but I haven’t discussed it with the OB as yet x

JoyfulStar profile image
JoyfulStar in reply to Aussie83

Hope your appointment with your OB goes well. Please do what feels right to you, based on your circumstances and your pregnancy journey so far. I had several conversations with consultants and was initially going to have a vaginal birth but things changed.

The professionals are there to guide and tell you about the pros and cons of different routes as well as make recommendations. No one else but you can ultimately decide how you should feel during pregnancy or how you should have your baby. My birth plan has changed 3 times over the course of this pregnancy as more information has come to light. Things also change and that is life. By the way, I have several fibroids outside my uterus with 2 main large ones and from my discussions with a consultant, a vaginal birth is possible. It just depends on the location.

I am having an elective section by the end of this month so will be happy to share my experience if it helps. All the best hun x

Aussie83 profile image
Aussie83 in reply to JoyfulStar

Thanks again, appreciate your kindness. I would love to hear how your c-section goes. Wishing you all the best for it x

It’s absolutely your right to choose, but unless you have a medical need for one it can be tricky to convince them. Not that you can’t, you just might have a battle on your hands. My sister did have trouble at her hospital but she ended up switching hospitals towards the end and had a c section.

Is there any particular reason you would opt for one straight away? If you don’t mind me asking x

Thanks. I’m just looking at my options right now, I’m only 14 weeks. This is all new to me & I want to make the best decision for me. It’s been a long road through IVF and I don’t want my baby to have a traumatic birth either. I have my first OB appt tomorrow so will see what they say x

That’s fair enough. I’ve never had a c section and the idea of it horrifies me 😂 I’d never choose it willingly and I was terrified with my first baby I’d need one after being induced.

It’s definitely a really hard decision to make, hopefully your midwife will be supportive and help you make the right choice for you xx

I can’t say they don’t terrify me somewhat either! But I have a large fibroid on the outside of my uterus and I’m not sure if it will cause issues for natural labour.

Thanks - yes hopefully 🤞x

They will try to change your mind as a c section is much more costly than a natural labour. It involves booking an operating room, an anaesthetist, lots of medical staff etc…so if they can avoid it they will. Which is why I did it privately- it’s a lot of money but I wanted a section (and thank good ness I did my daughter was 9lbs 11oz!!).

It is indeed your right to request one, so try but do it straight away at the beginning of your antenatal appointments, don’t wait for them to ask you because they won’t until you’re 34 weeks pregnant!

Good luck xx

Thanks a lot! Good advice x

I think it depends on your hospital and OB, and reasons for requesting one, as to how much of a fight they give you. You absolutely have the right to request one and I am not sure if you really insist they can refuse it. I requested one because of my age (40yo) giving me a 1/3 risk of ending up in an emergency CS if I tried naturally. I talked to my OB about it and she was really supportive, understood my reason, and said they are much more laid back about elective CS these days as having a birth that is right for mum and baby is paramount. However, my midwife told me had I gone to the other maternity unit close to me they would have put up much more of a fight and tried to talk me out of it. As ToughCOOKIE says, if you know you want to do it early on then make sure you tell your midwife ASAP, especially if you are not under consultant led care (ie won't have scheduled OB appointments) so that you can discuss with an OB in plenty of time. xx

Aussie83 profile image
Aussie83 in reply to Purpledoggy

Thanks, that’s so helpful. I am seeing an OB, tomorrow is actually my first appt, so I will broach the subject. That’s great you had a supportive one, as it 💯 should be about what is best for mum and baby! x

Purpledoggy profile image
Purpledoggy in reply to Aussie83

Hope all goes well at the appt xx

I dont know why you would want to opt for csection, people have in their heads its the easy option..trust me its not! If you can have a natural birth that can be so much quicker to recover from for you and baby. Especially if you plan to breast feed after, csection will make this difficult. If your scared of giving birth naturally dont be, birth is the most natural thing. If the hospital further down the line believes you or baby were to be in trouble they would then offer you a section if the need arises

Errxo profile image
Errxo in reply to Bakingcupcake

100% agree! C-section recovery is brutal!

Bakingcupcake profile image
Bakingcupcake in reply to Errxo

People can suffer scar infection problems, like infection, bleeding etc..not nice! I know there are things associated with natural births too but csection means you could be out of action after birth for 6 weeks min, no driving etc

I am just looking at my options. I don’t think it’s the easy option actually, I am aware how brutal it is. I am just asking for people’s advice so I can be fully informed & do what is right for me.

But i honestly think you need to weigh everything up, i would definitely say natural labour and birth is better, but obviously some people have that option taken away if theres an emergency etc then a csection could be the best route. I just think too many people are too quick to want an elective csection. A friend of mine had two and the second one ruined her body and the chances of having any more children..very sad

Please stop. You've made your point. Say nothing more if you can't be supportive.

Im trying to help so give over with the supportive c*** please

I take it you have experienced both natural birth and C-section. What did you find particularly difficult about the CS recovery? xx

Awful scar problems with healing, difficult to breastfeed as its very sore. Hubby only had 2 weeks off work after birth so was on my own after that you cant drive its very restrictive. With my natural biryh i was in and out of hospital in less than 24 hours a few stitches down below no issues baby happy healthy as was i. I felt awful after csection but it wasn't what i wanted

I know someone whose baby was terribly oxygen deprived during a difficult "natural" birth and now has lifelong physical and mental health problems. There will be millions of examples worldwide of either option that are good or bad. So what is crap to you is a lived experience to someone else. We're not scaremongering you so you could also choose to do better.

Jess1981 profile image
Jess1981 in reply to Bella_Bee

I totally agree it is the women’s choice on however she chooses to birth her child. All births come with risks. My first child was an wonderful easy birth but my second child was horrendous I had an awful tear that took a year to recover from much longer than a c section! The still birth I had in 2020 I was rushed into theatre for a retained placenta and due to haemorrhage and iron level dropping I had a blood transfusion. This pregnancy Ive booked to discuss a birth plan with a consultant after my last growth scan ( 2 weeks today ) My midwife said how a women wants to birth their child is up to the mum to be. And they can accommodate requests. I’m going to push for an induction see how that goes I am too worried about looking after my toddler who likes to jump all over me to request a c section😂 but I will say if baby gets stuck and gets distressed I want a c section or to get my baby out quickly, It was traumatising for my daughter whose heartbeat dropped and popped inside me she screamed for an hour post birth. It was scary for my husband and I and not nice for our daughter, I get annoyed hearing that vaginal births are quicker recovery not always and anyway it should be up to the mum to decide what is right for her that is a personal choice. Who is to say what hs right for one women isn’t right fir another one everyone should be supportive of others choices ( wherever you chose that method or not) too many judgemental comments. For the original poster my midwife did say how a women chooses to birth her child is her right and choice. There is no easy way to birth a child that is for sure! Good luck to anyone however they choose to do it! Xx

Aussie83 profile image
Aussie83 in reply to Jess1981

Thanks Jess, whole heartedly agree with you! I'm so sorry for your loss in 2020 x

I am sorry you experienced this. It is important to remember that some people do have a difficult recovery even though in the majority of cases this thankfully does not happen - even my midwife said that recovery from CS is much easier than touted in most cases (more like 2 weeks, not the 6 that is 'sold'), and my OB reminded me that natural birth does not come without its complications, some of which are life changing, when we talked it all through. My stepsister had PTSD after her natural birth and a severe tear and episiotomy that took a long time to heal. Her CS recovery was a breeze. I'm not sure anyone opts for a CS because they think it is 'easy', more that it is right for them for whatever reason. xx

RecipIVF profile image
RecipIVF in reply to Aussie83

You know your body and situation better than anyone - trust your gut. Most important thing is you and baby are safe xx

Liberty82 profile image
Liberty82 in reply to Aussie83

I had my first baby 9 weeks ago after 8 years of trying. I was really anxious all through the pregnancy as I've had failed ivf/miscarriage etc so I requested an induction at 39 weeks and was told that was fine. The early part of the induction failed, so the balloon catheter didn't fall out. I was told (very luckily I might add) by a midwife that usually if the balloon didn't fall out in her experience it usually ended in an emergency section. I totally panicked and requested an elected section. They did try to talk me out of it but there was no way I was carrying on the induction for a further 2 or 3 days only for it to end in EMCS. Two days later I had my beautiful daughter through elected section. It went like a dream, such a wonderful positive experience. I had no pain after the surgery and just some very mild discomfort the next day. I was discharged the day after surgery and by day 5 I was out walking the dog. I felt fully recovered after a week but I knew I wasn't so tried to take it as easy as I could. I'm over weight and pushing 40 so I didn't think I'd find it all so straightforward. Every birth is different but my experience of c section was brilliant. Good luck with your appointment and I hope you feel heard x

Aussie83 profile image
Aussie83 in reply to Liberty82

Aww congrats on your daughter. So great to hear another positive story for c-section (after the induction fail). I feel alot better about asking for it ,if I decide to, after everyone's kind words x

We all have choices in life. Wouldn’t it be nice if we can support other women into choosing what they want rather than scolding and terrifying them? We’re all on different journeys and there are ways to share your insights without placing judgement or scaring others. As someone having a c section, I certainly didn’t need to see it.

Not trying to terrify anyone..im telling my truth, my story, surely this lady came on for opinions and experiences of others not something wrapped up in cotton wool...but thanks for belittling me!

I didn’t belittle you. That would have required using the alarmist and scolding kind of language you did towards someone clearly anxious about giving birth. You were there once.

The OP did no such thing. If you look at the original post she came here to enquire about the process of securing a c section. Not to have her choice affirmed.

Liberty82 profile image
Liberty82 in reply to Llizzie

My experience of c section was fantastic! Everything from the operation to the recovery went so well. I'm trying for another baby in the spring and even though I'll have a toddler at home I'll still be requesting an ELCS. I'm almost 40 so geriatric in medical terms lol, but I couldn't wait to get up the next day and get showered. Was home the next day and out walking the dog by day 5. A week after the op I had to remind myself that I'd just had major surgery. My best friend had a baby in July and shes 40 and her section experience is similar to mine. Good luck with your section, you'll be absolutely grand!

Hi Aussie83, congratulations on your pregnancy. I don’t really have any knowledge of elective sections with first baby. However, I ended up with an emergency c-section following induction with my first, who was conceived via IVF. I was really anxious about the possibility and wanted as natural birth as possible. However, I ended up with an infection which was putting me and baby at risk. I was open about my worries at the start (I was worried something would go wrong and would lose the baby). I had meconium in my waters and (unnecessarily) freaked out. I spoke to a consultant about a section at the point my waters broke and she was 100% supportive if that was what I wanted. In the end, we didn’t but much later on, I still wasn’t progressing and medical advice was to have a section, mainly because I had a raging temperature that they couldn’t bring down.

I guess I am sharing because in my experience, it is an option at any point if concerns arise during labour. Also, so many people are saying c-section is brutal. I am not saying it is a walk in the park, it is major surgery and does limit you after birth in that you can’t drive. However, I was in town 4 days after birth and walked my dog every day post discharge, with a pram, up some small hills. I also successfully breastfed. I don’t think being told it is brutal is helpful because you will just be anxious. I was lucky with my recovery but it is not too bad. You will be sore but if there are not complications, you will be fine within a few days, although have some discomfort for ages after. The first week is the hardest.

I am having an elective c-section with my second and I have lots of friends who have done the same following c-section.

Aussie83 profile image
Aussie83 in reply to Countrychic

Thank you!

And thanks so much for your honesty, it’s so helpful to hear. I have heard recovery stories similar to yours from people I know as well.

I just want my baby to have the safest birth possible given I have had a difficult 5 years getting to this point.

Thanks again, All the best with your pregnancy x

Countrychic profile image
Countrychic in reply to Aussie83

I absolutely get that, that was my ultimate birth goal and having a c-section was what safely brought my baby into the world and I have no regrets. I remember from my hypnobirthing course them saying if you think you will end up with a section, that is what will end up happening. It really focuses on visualisations and believing your body can deliver naturally. I found it all very judgemental and dismissed most of it and just went with my instincts. As other people have said, it should be 100% your choice and you should feel supported in that choice.

I think after a long fertility journey, the desire to have your baby safely in your arms is just so strong. It is a day that for years you probably feared wouldn’t happen. I know my husband and I both felt anxious up until our wee boy was born. Best of luck with whatever you decide xxx

I am glad to see a different POV for C Sections. I am going to have one and while I am already aware of the pitfalls as I had a similar operation in 2019, it is worth noting that not everyone has a brutal experience with major surgery as women can get discharged from hospital within 24 hours same as natural birth. Although the recovery is longer, there may be situations when a c section is the safest route for you and or the baby. I also have friends that have had c sections and would opt for it again.

I was so worried about broaching this with my consultant as I thought I would be pushed one way or the other - but he talked me through all options including being induced early (their initial recommendation as I have been bleeding), sweeps, section... his priority was what's best for mother and baby and he said if a mother was going to spend night after night awake and worrying about a particular type of birth, or terrified and distressed when she's admitted, then that wasn't great either. He was able to answer my questions about risks and recovery of vaginal vs section, even my random query about whether c-sections mean babies don't have as robust a microbiome as with vaginal and can be linked to allergies etc (apparently no evidence in his experience). His main comment was if it looks like you might need a section, it is much better to plan it than have an emergency one. If you try vaginal and then you need one, that's one thing and I think the majority of women go with the option of trying a vaginal birth for a lot of reasons, but also you can request a section in advance for whatever reason. Consultant is 100% supportive either way and said normally they would do a section a couple of weeks earlier than EDD, but with extra scans including growth so they can time it as best they can. Things may not go to plan (I think that's the mantra generally with any pregnancy and birth!) so all you can do is try and go with the best option for your circumstances and don't worry too much about other people's stories - some are terrifying, some sound like their labour was assisted by Disney bluebirds. Your body is going to do something incredible and very difficult no matter what route, and ultimately you will produce a tiny new human that you have to look after - that's the scary and wonderful bit for me and I'm trying to focus on that.

“Labour assisted by Disney bluebirds” 🤣🤣🤣

Your consultant sounds amazing! That is definately how we should be supported, it shouldn't be about what costs them more money. Thanks so much for the information, it really helps me x

I completely agree with this! I opted for a csection, with no medical issues and had an extremely long and stressful fight on my hands- many medical professionals telling me that I wouldn't be able to do anything for weeks. I was out of hospital within 24 hours and up and out of the house on my first day at home, I continued to do this every day, with no issues. I will 100% go down the same route for any future pregnancies.Being told that it is brutal is incredibly unhelpful as every journey is different. Many women have successful breastfeeding experiences and I do strongly believe that if able, getting up and out of the house is very doable and helps with recovery (just know your limits).

I am obviously not saying it is easy, in the first week I had some pain but it was manageable and I was still able to walk and look after my son.

Congratulations on your pregnancy and good luck with whichever option you choose.

Aussie83 profile image
Aussie83 in reply to lucy891

Thank you! Yes I have heard alot of recovery stories similar to yours. Its so good to know. I know some people have harder recoveries as well tho but does seem to be the minority these days.. I will take all of this on board when deciding what's best for me x

I just want to echo what countrychic said. I had to have an emergency c-section after developing pre-eclampsia very late on in pregnancy. I really wanted a natural water birth but as soon as I was unwell took the advice of doctors and had a c-section. I was up and walking about not long after and went out shopping 4 days after and also walked the dog. Also have not had a problem breast feeding at all. Milk came in when it should. It’s not easy but recovering after birth whichever way you do it will always be a challenge.

Do what is right for you and advocate for yourself. Good luck in whatever you decided and congratulations on your pregnancy x

Thank you! Yes I agree, either option seems to have its pros and cons and recovery will still be a challenge x

I had a c section, and though my daughter arrived safely and that is the most important thing, my recovery was long and painful. Lactation took a few weeks to establish properly. I still have weakness in my abdominal muscles (and consequently my back) two years on, despite consistant therapy exercise. Not every woman has these problems, but they do happen.

Thanks for your honesty, I will definately take it on board. Sorry to hear you had a rough time of it, hope your daughter is doing well x

Hi Aussie. I’m having an elective c section and I’m pregnant through IVF. It’s hard to understand the trauma of fertility treatment if you haven’t been through it. That has contributed to my choice alongside antenatal depression and anxiety. I’ve been told I can have a c section, though my hospital are stringing out when that might be (I’m 34 weeks) and I’ve found the doctors extremely compassionate and understanding. Some friends have had some push back but it’s your right, your body, and your choice how you give birth. I was keen to explore it all early but doctors didn’t want to talk about it until my third trimester so you may feel the can is kicked down the road in any discussions. Message me if you like and best of luck with your pregnancy. x

Aussie83 profile image
Aussie83 in reply to Llizzie

Yes this is exactly how I am currently feeling. My infertility was long and very hard at times and is a reason I was considering this option. I've had enough trauma, I just want to have my baby now. Thanks so much, I might message you for more advice about this. You too, all the best! x

Llizzie profile image
Llizzie in reply to Aussie83

I had my consultant apt today at 34+6 and had my section confirmed and a date given. Just to reassure you x

Aussie83 profile image
Aussie83 in reply to Llizzie

Oh that's great to hear. Thank you x

Morning! I've been through this exact same journey in the last few days. I'm having my baby at a major London hospital. I knew it was within my rights to have a c section and like you, I don't have a particular medical reason but it was the option the risks of which I felt most comfortable with. Given that a quarter to a third of vaginal births end up in emergency c section and the use of tools is alarmingly high, the chances of a complicated vaginal birth are higher than I feel comfortable with and I do not want to risk my baby going without oxygen. So I chose to take the hit knowing the first few days after the birth would be more difficult for me. I was prepared for a fight but it was more straightforward than I thought. I just had to have a conversation with the consultant midwife who talked me through the pros and cons of each method. Everything she said reinforced my view so we went for an elective c section and she booked it for me.

I'm a bit pissed off at some of the comments above. The quick vaginal birth with an epidural and no tears is everyone's dream and a lot of people will probably experience that. But there are also a LOT of people who go through a fcked up 20 hour labour, get torn up by forceps and then have to have a c section anyway. I'm not going around telling people who choose a vaginal birth the many risks of a difficult labour so God knows why they feel entitled to do the opposite with us.

Anyway.. Best of luck to you! Stick to your guns if they get tricky about it. An operation is more expensive than a vaginal birth so because the NHS is free you may feel pressured into the cheaper option but it is absolutely your right. Best of luck ❤

Aussie83 profile image
Aussie83 in reply to Bella_Bee

Thanks for your advice, its really good to hear people's experiences. Yes that has been my thinking so far (although I'm still doing my research and talking to people) that natural births very often go awry as well and can cause long term affects etc. Infertility and the trauma of it is my only real reason for considering it but I think its a valid one.. I will stick to my guns if need be. All the best to you too x


Just wanted to say whatever you decide I hope you get the support you need. The most important thing needed to recover well from any surgery is to get active and mobile as soon as possible. Take the pain killers given and get up and walking as soon as you can. Take it gentle to do move. Limit the amount of lifting you do. If you can get help with baby being passed to you for the first few days great. Roll to side and use your hands to get up rather than put pressure on your abdominal muscles. Whether you have an elective or emergency c section music definitely helps can the situation.

Good luck and wishing the safe arrival of your special baby. X

Aussie83 profile image
Aussie83 in reply to SRA8

Such helpful tips, thank you so much x

Some women sail through natural birth while others have a rough timeWell once you had 1 C Section it is very likely each birth will be a C Section because of Scars, fears of a tearing. Scars can bring discomfort or pain for life.Most NHS Hostipals do not openly offer C Sections cos of cost!

A natural birth equally has possible negative issues, including later on in life bladder, womb or bowel prolapse.

Exercise is very important after a few weeks of the birth and weight lose.

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