Vaginal birth comes with risks too – so should it really be the default option?

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


When it comes to childbirth, vaginal delivery is often assumed to be the best thing – women have, after all, done it for thousands of years. But natural birth actually comes with risks, including tearing, haemorrhage and incontinence for the mother and injuries to the baby during labour. So why is it that the vast majority of pregnant women are only being warned about the risks of caesarean sections?

This could now change, as the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists are to discuss the current view of vaginal birth as the default option for childbirth in the UK. They will consider whether there’s merit in routinely discussing the relative risks and benefits of vaginal birth and caesarean section with pregnant women. Such an approach would ideally provide balanced information for women to inform their birth plans.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
PublisherThe Conversation UK
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Mairead Black previously received funding from The Wellcome Trust as part of a research training fellowship to investigate the long-term health of children delivered by planned caesarean section and factors influencing women's birth choices after a previous caesarean section.


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