Caesarean Birth“Help! I’ve requested a caesarean birth but have been told no – what can I do now?”
This is the most common reason women contact Caesarean Birth. They are very often feeling distressed and anxious (while pregnant), and frustrated that their informed choice is being denied. If this is happening to you, and you feel strongly that your birth preference is not being discussed in a fair and balanced way, you might find the information below helpful.
You can also contact Caesarean Birth and/or some of the organisations listed at the bottom of this page.
– Complain in writing to the hospital, reaffirming your planned caesarean request, and the reasons for your request (write to more than one person/department if necessary).
– Cite the 2021 NICE Caesarean guideline and its recommendations (use quotes from here), and ask to be referred to an obstetrician who will support your request.
– Ask about the process for changing hospitals in the event this will be necessary.
– Insist upon a written response outlining why your request is being refused.
– Insist upon a timely answer to your request (some women are told they will be given an answer at 36 weeks’ EGA but this is very late (and even more stressful) if you need to make alternative arrangements.
– Contact details for your email/letter should be available on the hospital’s website but if they are not, call your maternity ward and ask who you should address it to.
– Talk to your GP if you are experiencing anxiety about your refusal as some GPs are willing to write a letter on your behalf.
– Consider contacting a legal firm and asking them to write a letter on your behalf (or in addition to your own).
– Consider asking other women for information; in the Facebook group Cesarean By Choice Awareness Network for example, you might be able to find out names or contact details of obstetricians in your area who support maternal request.
– Private maternity care usually supports maternal request but can be cost-prohibitive for most women. There may be obstetricians in your area who can help without the full cost of pregnancy and birth being applicable though, so this might be worth checking.
– Contact Caesarean Birth and/or Birthrights; Birthrights launched its own maternal request campaign on May 24, 2017, and in October 16, 2013 I gave a presentation on maternal request at its Dignity in Childbirth Conference.