This guideline covers when to offer caesarean section, procedural aspects of the operation and care after caesarean section. It aims to improve the consistency and quality of care for women who are considering a caesarean section or have had a caesarean section in the past and are now pregnant again.

In August 2012, recommendations and on ‘place of birth’ were removed because this topic is covered by NICE’s guideline on intrapartum care for healthy women and babies.


This guideline includes recommendations on:

Who is it for?

  • Healthcare professionals
  • Commissioners and providers
  • Public health and trust managers
  • Pregnant women, their families, birth supporters and other carers

Is this guideline up to date?

We reviewed the evidence in July 2014. We identified no major studies that will affect the recommendations in the next 3–5 years.

Next review: January 2017

Guideline development process

How we develop NICE guidelines

This clinical guideline updates and replaces NICE guideline CG13 (published April 2004).

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory and the guideline does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.

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