Planned caesareans pose no bigger threat than vaginal deliveries for either mother or baby, according to a study.
NHS doctors tend to only carry out the major procedure if it is considered the safest option because it carries several risks.
But Canadian researchers have now challenged the claims, finding that it may even be better for mothers-to-be and their babies.
Ottawa University scientists leafed through the records of 422,000 births, including 2,000 where expectant mothers chose to have a C section.
They counted how many were admitted to intensive care and compared death rates between the two groups.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Results showed women who chose to have a C section faced no greater risk, and hinted the mothers-to-be and their infants may even be better off.
Around 700,000 babies are born in the UK each year, with a quarter from C-sections. The procedure makes up a similar proportion of births in the US.
Women who have a caesarean section and their babies are no more likely to suffer poor outcomes compared to those who opt for vaginal delivery (stock)
Some expectant mothers request a caesarean before they give birth.
Doctors call this a caesarean delivery on maternal request, or CDMR.
The benefits of a vaginal delivery are well-established, including no need to recover from surgery, reduced risk of scars and an improved microbiome for the baby.
But some women still request the procedure because of concerns over giving birth, perceptions care will be better, or fears over urination or sexual issues.
The NHS says a C section can be carried out for non-medical reasons once the risks have been explained by a doctor or midwife.
'If after discussing all the risks and hearing about all the support on offer you still feel that a vaginal birth is not an acceptable option, you should be offered a planned caesarean,' they write online.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
'If your doctor is unwilling to perform the operation, they should refer you to a doctor who will.'
There are around 700,000 births in the UK each year, of which more than 100,000 are C-sections. In the US there are 3.75million annually, including 1.25million C-sections.
It is not clear how many C-sections are at a mothers request.
NHS guidance argues the common procedure is 'very safe' but comes with standard surgery risks, such as blood clots and infections.
C-sections are normally carried out because of medical reasons including babies in the wrong position, or the mother suffers pre-eclampsia.
For this reason, it is hard to compare different birthing methods because the women are already at higher risk.
Scores of women, who are often dubbed 'too push to push', choose to go under the knife for non-medical reasons.
Experts say mothers-to-be may opt for C-sections because of