There are two methods of delivering a baby. Currently in the UK three quarters of deliveries are vaginal, the remaining twenty five per cent a combination of planned caesarean sections, where the decision has been made prior to the event, or as urgent/emergency procedures, in response to complications during labour.

Caesarean section is a surgical procedure, carried out by an obstetrician, a specialist in women’s health, performed in an operating theatre. It involves a horizontal cut to the abdomen, allowing access to the uterus (womb), which is opened to deliver the baby and placenta. After this, once any bleeding has been addressed, the womb and abdomen are closed back up and if baby is well, her or she can be given to mum for skin-to-skin contact and to breast feed if desired. The majority of sections are performed under regional anaesthesia.

Reasons for having a section can be divided into medical, including uncontrolled infection, low-lying placenta or breech baby, and non medical, often anxieties over vaginal delivery.

Emergency sections are performed in response to complications during attempted vaginal delivery.

Statistics show that for uncomplicated pregnancies, vaginal delivery is safer than caesarean section.

Some consultants do not advocate non-medical caesarean sections, but it is a mother’s right to decide her method of delivery, and be referred to a specialist who will facilitate this.

Of utmost importance is that when you decide, you have explored your options and have made a fully informed decision. Neither vaginal delivery nor c-section is without potential complications. Those associated with vaginal delivery include perceived lack of control, damage to the genital tract and weakness of the pelvic floor afterwards. Those of section are the same risks as for any operation including damage to abdominal organs, risks of anaesthesia, developing a clot in the leg or lung and perhaps most importantly greater time until you can lift and carry the baby. If performed before 39 weeks, babies delivered by c-section are more likely to have temporary breathing problems. Infection and bleeding are complications of both.

The majority of births are largely uncomplicated. Obstetricians and all doctors are trained to adopt a holistic approach to care, and you should never be afraid to ask any question, or express fear.