Planned Caesarean Birth. Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, 2022

About this course

This guidance is for healthcare professionals to aid the provision of appropriate and balanced information about the potential benefits, risks and alternative modes of childbirth to those considering a planned (elective) caesarean birth. 

Planned caesarean birth is an alternative to planned vaginal birth for women with a number of conditions diagnosed before or during pregnancy, or on request for women with no specific medical indication.

Women planning a vaginal birth should also be informed that in the UK, approximately 1 in 8 women planning a vaginal birth have an assisted vaginal birth (using ventouse or forceps) and aproximately 1 in 5 women have an emergency or unplanned caesarean birth.6 These figures are higher in primiparous women (between 1 in 2 and 1 in 3 for assisted vaginal birth and up to 1 in 3 for an emergency caesarean birth).

Other reading:

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Information for the public: Care of women and their babies during labour and birth ( and-birth).

  • RCOG patient information leaflets2 on Considering a caesarean birth, Placenta praevia, placenta accreta and vasa praevia,and Breech baby at the end of pregnancy.

  • NHS website (

  • Obstetric Anaesthetists’ Association information for mothers (

  • Baby Centre Who will be with me during a caesarean birth? (Video) (


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