Barbara McFarlin, CNM, MS, RDMS, is a full-time doctoral student at the University of Illinois, clinician, and sonographer.
Elective Cesarean Birth: Issues and Ethics of an Informed Decision
Article first published online: 24 DEC 2010
2004 American College of Nurse Midwives
Journal of Midwifery & Womens Health
Volume 49, Issue 5, pages 421–429, September-October 2004
How to Cite
McFarlin, B. L. (2004), Elective Cesarean Birth: Issues and Ethics of an Informed Decision. Journal of Midwifery & Womens Health, 49: 421–429. doi: 10.1111/j.1542-2011.2004.tb04436.x
- Issue published online: 24 DEC 2010
- Article first published online: 24 DEC 2010
- keywords: cesarean birth on demand;
- cesarean section;
- informed consent;
- risks of cesarean birth;
- maternal mortality
Is elective cesarean birth an issue of a woman's autonomy to choose her mode of birth or fear of labor by both the patient and the providers? Are women consenting to this procedure truly informed about the short-term and long-term risks associated with cesarean birth versus vaginal birth? This article examines the issues associated with elective cesarean birth and the factors that have led to recent consideration of this option. It is essential that we evaluate how risks, benefits, and liability issues impact the recommendations for the mode of birth. The ethics of making an informed choice as well as ethical professional responsibilities are explored.