Posted on 22/08/2018 by
Instead, it discovered that many women faced delays, difficulties and “judgmental attitudes, barriers and disrespect” when seeking sections on non-medical grounds.
The charity found 47 per cent of trusts had inconsistent or confusing policies on the subject.
It raised concerns that women who had previously undergone traumatic births would be unable to access the care they need.
Trusts are bound by human rights duties to offer individualised care.
The charity also said that it feared that women who may have been through sexual assault or were vulnerable due to problems over language, mental health or learning were being forced to undergo unsafe births.
It found 28 per cent of women requesting a caesarean did so because they had an underlying health problem, such as pelvic pain, that did not meet the medical threshold for requiring one.
Many women who asked for a caesarean were told to go elsewhere.
Birthrights chief executive Rebecca Schiller said: “It is clear that women requesting caesarean sections meet judgmental attitudes, barriers and disrespect more often than they find compassion and support.”
The charity claimed it had found that Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital had a policy in place to refuse all maternal request caesareans.
Lawyers for Birthrights have since written to the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust and Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group asking for more information on the policy.
Birthrights programmes director Maria Booker said the charity had received a number of complaints about disrespectful treatment at hospitals.
She said: “Trusts are bound by human rights duties to offer individualised care. Any statement or policy from a trust that caesarean would only be granted on medical grounds may be incompatible with trusts’ obligations to have an open, supportive, two-way discussion that explores all reasonable options.”
Ms Booker added that any policy which was applied in a blanket way might be incompatible with human rights law.
The John Radcliffe Hospital was approached for a response but did not provide one.
My request was brushed aside, says trauma mother
Mother Lucie Tidman, 32, told how a request to have her second child by caesarean section was brushed aside despite her fears.
Ms Tidman, pictured left with her baby daughter, had suffered PTSD after a serious haemorrhage during her first birth six years ago.
During her second pregnancy she asked for a section to avoid any more trauma but was told it was not possible. When she gave birth she had another haemorrhage and her baby daughter had to be taken to neo-natal intensive care.
Ms Tidman claimed a consultant had not listened to her concerns. She said: “He was just going on the fact of, ‘This is your second birth, there’s no reason why it should happen again’. But he didn’t look into why we were anxious about it.”
Describing her daughter’s first few moments, she added: “I remember her being placed on my tummy and then a red ‘sheet’ just soaked the bed and I was rushed to theatre. It was horrific.”