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Page last updated at 08:56 GMT, Wednesday, 23 November 2011

New guidelines 'likely to reduce number of Caesarians'

NHS guidelines being published today say pregnant women in England and Wales should be allowed to have a Caesarean delivery even if there is no medical need.

The updated advice for doctors and midwives has been issued by the health watchdog, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

Speaking on the programme, NICE's deputy chief executive Gillian Leng said that the guidelines have "updated the information about the relative risks and benefits" of different way of giving birth.

And she added that "it now appears that the risk profile of the two ways of giving birth are relatively similar. We have recognised that there are some women with significant anxieties about vaginal birth and so there is a recommendation that there's better provision of anxiety counselling.

"We think that the rate of Caesarean section is likely to decline as a consequence."

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