This guideline has been developed to help ensure consistent quality care for women who have had a caesarean birth (caesarean section) in the past and are now pregnant again, who have a clinical indication for a caesarean birth, or are considering a caesarean birth when planning their birth, and there is no medical indication.

It provides some evidence-based information for healthcare professionals and women about the risks and benefits of caesarean birth compared with vaginal birth, and this has now been updated to include the short- and long-term risks and benefits for both women and babies/children. It also provides guidance on specific indications for caesarean birth, effective management strategies to avoid unplanned caesarean birth and the organisational and environmental factors that affect caesarean birth rates.

For women who undergo a caesarean birth, guidance is provided on the anaesthetic and surgical aspects of care, including interventions to reduce morbidity from caesarean birth. The recommendations on monitoring after caesarean birth, pain relief after caesarean birth and on uterine closure have been updated.

This update also contains new recommendations on techniques to reduce infectious morbidity and techniques to prevent and manage hypothermia and shivering.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)