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Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2004 Apr 15;113(2):186-90.

Caesarean section on request: a survey in The Netherlands.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University Medical Centre Utrecht, WKZ, KE.04.123.1, Lundlaan 6, 3584 EA Utrecht, The Netherlands.



To determine the opinion of Dutch gynaecologists and registrars on caesarean section (CS) on request.


Anonymous postal survey.


A structured survey was send to all 900 gynaecologists and registrars in The Netherlands. They were asked to what extent they were willing to accept a request for an elective caesarean section, without evident medical reason. The survey contained eight simulated cases in which the reason for this request differed (obstetrical history and course of the present pregnancy). In two cases, there was no medical indication at all to perform a caesarean section; and in a third case caesarean section was due to excessive maternal weight relatively contraindicated.


The response rate was 65%. Willingness to perform an elective caesarean section ranged from 17 to 81% between the cases. Main reasons to perform a caesarean section were: (a). autonomy; (b). an unfavourable course of delivery in the absence of motivation for a natural childbirth; (c). litigation. The main reasons to refuse a request for a caesarean section were: (a). higher maternal morbidity and mortality; (b). no indication for caesarean section. A logistic regression analysis on personal characteristics showed that an experienced doctor is more willing to perform an elective caesarean section then a consultant or registrar with limited experience. The sex of the doctor was of no influence and the same held for the University at which they had been trained. Furthermore, it seems that doctors are more willing to accept the request if it is based upon unfounded, but understandable fear.


In The Netherlands, a woman can always find a gynaecologist willing to perform a caesarean section for non medical reasons. This willingness increases with the age of the doctor. There is a need for guidelines when handling these cases.

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