Women 'should have right to choose birth method'

Women who choose to have caesarean section births should not be criticised, according to a leading UK health expert.

BJOG editor-in-chief Professor Philip Steer told the BBC that some people believe it is necessary to have a natural childbirth regardless of the circumstances, almost as a female "rite of passage".

However, he claimed that the introduction of this birth method has helped reduce maternal mortality rates in the developed world and should not only be embraced, but also celebrated.

Professor Steer commented: "Delivery by caesarean section now accounts for almost a third of all births in many developed countries, and is remarkably safe - certainly as safe as many of the cosmetic operations that do not excite similar criticism.

"And yet many still argue against allowing women the autonomy to choose their mode of birth, either on spurious economic grounds or by suggesting that birth is natural so we mustn't become dependent on technology."

Last month, the UK's Royal College of Midwives (RCM) claimed that women should be made more aware of the options available to them when it comes to how and where they give birth.

Gail Johnson, education and professional development adviser at the RCM, said women and medical professionals should see pregnancy and birth as "a normal event".ADNFCR-2094-ID-19179478-ADNFCR