Birth options clinic

Our 'birth options' clinics are led by the consultant obstetrician and consultant midwife who will make a management plan with you for giving birth. The clinic provides an opportunity for women who have previously had a Caesarean section or traumatic birth to explore the birth choices for their current pregnancy.

During this appointment we will review your previous notes and talk through your birthing experience.

Women who have previously had a Caesarean section

We recommend that all women who have had one previous uncomplicated Caesarean section should plan to have a vaginal birth unless there are other indications for planning an elective Caesarean section for this birth.

Women who have previously had a Caesarean section will usually be seen before 20 weeks of pregnancy and again later in the pregnancy depending on individual circumstances. Depending on your medical and obstetric history, or your personal preferences, an elective Caesarean section may be recommended for you.

You may be referred to the birth options clinic if your midwife or obstetrician feels that you would benefit from a consultation to discuss your last birth and make a plan to support the birth this time.

NHS England has developed a very comprehensive decision aid for women following one previous Caesarean section. It is an internet based tool which you can work through and guides you through the advantages and disadvantages of vaginal birth after Caesarean section or elective Caesarean section. We recommend that you use the decision aid before attending your birth options clinic appointment. You can find the decision aid here: Birth options after previous Caesarean section.

Requesting a Caesarean section

A Caesarean section is a major operation and should not be performed unless there is a medical reason or it is necessary to protect the health of you or your baby. There are serious implications for you and your unborn child at the time of the surgery and also for your future health and pregnancies.

We understand that some women have a fear of childbirth or have other reasons for wanting to have a Caesarean section. If this happens you will be seen in the birth options clinic by a senior medical specialist for a consultation to discuss the reasons for your request and to explore your options.

Useful downloads

Are you thinking of asking for a caesarean section?