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Identifying Safe Alternatives To Caesarean Section

Wednesday, 23 January 2002

A multi-disciplinary group of obstetricians, midwives, general practitioners and consumers has been convened by the New Zealand Guidelines Group to develop evidence-based guidelines for the best care of pregnant women and to advise on situations where there are safe alternatives to caesarean-section.

The first stage of these guidelines will focus on care of breech deliveries, and the options for women having children after a previous caesarean section birth. This guideline will be completed in September 2002. The guideline will then be sent out to all health staff providing care for pregnant women. A special information package will be prepared for pregnant women giving them impartial, evidence-based information on the risks and benefits of caesarean and other treatment options.

The group is being led by Assoc Prof Cindy Farquhar of National Women's Hospital. Cindy Farquhar said "We want to move the debate away from a discussion about the ideal c-section rate - to a discussion about how we provide the safest and most appropriate care for women and their babies.

This guideline will look at what NZ and other countries have found to be effective care. In addition to a detailed review of the evidence, we will also be working with the Ministry of Health to conduct a survey of the birthing preferences of pregnant women in New Zealand and will commission a qualitative research project that involves conducting interviews with NZ women who have had a caesarean section."

This project has been funded by the Ministry of Health and is supported by the Colleges of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Midwives, and General Practitioners as well as Nga Maia and individuals from other community and women's groups.


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