The last few decades have seen an unrelenting rise in caesarean section (CS) rates. In addition to an increase in numbers of CS performed worldwide, there has also been a change in the indications for CS, a reflection of changing times. A new dilemma facing obstetricians is the increasing demand for CS in the absence of any medical indication (caesarean delivery on maternal request – CDMR). The paucity of evidence either in favour or against, the poor understanding of long-term health and financial implications and the complex ethical issues surrounding CDMR make counselling extremely challenging. Needless to say, CDMR has generated enormous interest both in the media and among health-care providers, and many national and international bodies have now issued guidelines on the topic. In this editorial, we have aimed to explore the factors responsible for the increase in CDMR rates, assess the safety and cost implications of CS and review the recent guidelines and recommendations on CDMR.
©2012 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston