NCT want parents to have a positive experience of birth and for the mother and baby to be healthy and feel well.

A range of resources are available here on modes of birth other than a straightforward birth. These include evidence based briefings on caesarean section, vaginal birth after caesarean, induction of labour and assisted vaginal birth as well as NCT policy on caesarean section. Cynthia Clarkson, an NCT research networker, explains how forceps are used and considers their role alongside the alternative, emergency caesarean section.

What makes for a successful VBAC? Kate Bedding looks at qualitative research on the experiences of women who have had a successful vaginal birth after a previous caesarean section.

A new edition of the NICE clinical guidance on Caesarean section was published in November 2011. This replaces the 2004 clinical guideline and offers evidence-based advice on the care of women who have had a caesarean section in the past and are now pregnant again or have a clinical indication for a caesarean section or are considering a caesarean section when there is no other indication. Hannah Sherlock discusses implementing the guideline in Women-centred care and caesarean birth - NICE developments.

In 2013 NICE published the quality standard for caesarean section which focuses on improving the decision-making process and the information available to women who may need, request or have had a caesarean section.

New and updated recommendations include:

  • the risks and benefits of planned caesarean section compared with planned vaginal birth
  • appropriate care and choices for women who are HIV positive
  • care of women requesting a caesarean section without a clinical indication
  • appropriate care and choices for women who have previously had a caesarean section.

The booklet What every pregnant woman needs to know about caesarean section is available from Childbirth Connection

The site www.caesarean.org.uk offers research-based information and support on all aspects of caesareans and vaginal birth following caesarean section.

NCT position statements are also available relevant to mode of birth.