Committee Opinion No. 559: Cesarean Delivery on Maternal Request

doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000428647.67925.d3
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ABSTRACT: Cesarean delivery on maternal request is defined as a primary prelabor cesarean delivery on maternal request in the absence of any maternal or fetal indications. Potential risks of cesarean delivery on maternal request include a longer maternal hospital stay, an increased risk of respiratory problems for the infant, and greater complications in subsequent pregnancies, including uterine rupture, placental implantation problems, and the need for hysterectomy. Potential short-term benefits of planned cesarean delivery compared with a planned vaginal delivery (including women who give birth vaginally and those who require cesarean delivery in labor) include a decreased risk of hemorrhage and transfusion, fewer surgical complications, and a decrease in urinary incontinence during the first year after delivery. Given the balance of risks and benefits, the Committee on Obstetric Practice believes that in the absence of maternal or fetal indications for cesarean delivery, a plan for vaginal delivery is safe and appropriate and should be recommended to patients. In cases in which cesarean delivery on maternal request is planned, delivery should not be performed before a gestational age of 39 weeks. Cesarean delivery on maternal request should not be motivated by the unavailability of effective pain management. Cesarean delivery on maternal request particularly is not recommended for women desiring several children, given that the risks of placenta previa, placenta accreta, and gravid hysterectomy increase with each cesarean delivery.

© 2013 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists