n South African Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology - Should women be able to choose caesarean section?

Volume 12, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0038-2329
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Caesarean section is one of the commonest operations performed in the UK. The rise in incidence has been partly due to increased importance being placed on the patient's right to choose. This paper, written from a female medical student's viewpoint, looks at whether caesareans should be performed solely because of patient request. The risks and benefits of caesarean sections are reviewed and the balance between patient autonomy and medical paternalism is evaluated. It is argued that the risks of performing a possibly needless operation are important and should not be dismissed, and the conclusion is that caesarean section should be performed only when medically indicated. The majority of young doctors now entering obstetrics in the UK are female, but this does not necessarily mean that there will be a shift in favour of women's rights.

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