Objective: To provide health care providers, patients, and the general public with a responsible assessment of currently available data on cesarean delivery on maternal request.
Participants: A non-U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nonadvocate 18-member panel representing the fields of obstetrics and gynecology, preventive medicine, biometrics, family planning and reproductive physiology, nurse midwifery, anesthesiology, patient safety, epidemiology, pediatrics, perinatal medicine, urology, urogynecology, general nursing, inner-city public health sciences, law, psychiatry, and health services research. In addition, 18 experts from pertinent fields presented data to the panel and conference audience.
Evidence: Presentations by experts and a systematic review of the literature prepared by the RTI International-University of North Carolina Evidence-based Practice Center, through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Scientific evidence was given precedence over anecdotal experience.
Conference process: The panel drafted its statement based on scientific evidence presented in open forum and on published scientific literature. The draft statement was presented on the final day of the conference and circulated to the audience for comment. The panel released a revised statement later that day at http://consensus.nih.gov. This statement is an independent report of the panel and is not a policy statement of the National Institutes of Health or the federal government.
Conclusions: The magnitude of cesarean delivery on maternal request is difficult to quantify. There is insufficient evidence to evaluate fully the benefits and risks of cesarean delivery on maternal request compared with planned vaginal delivery. Any decision to perform a cesarean delivery on maternal request should be carefully individualized and consistent with ethical principles.