A STUDY in Huddersfield on how Caesarean births affect women's ability to have further children is to be published soon.

A research team for Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust is writing its findings from the recent study on how difficult births can affect women's future fertility.

Midwife Kathy Kershaw, based at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, is part of the research team.

Mrs Kershaw said the study involved first- time mothers from the Huddersfield area whose babies were not born by a ``normal" vaginal delivery.

Some had Caesarean sections, while other mothers had forceps or other equipment used in the delivery.

Half the women who took part in the study had standard follow-up visits from midwives, 10 days and then 10 weeks after birth.

The rest of the women were given two ``debriefing" sessions by specially trained midwives, to explain what happened during the birth and its effects.

Mrs Kershaw said the study was prompted by the results of a 1999 survey of 750 Huddersfield mothers who had Caesareans, forceps deliveries or complicated births.

Mrs Kershaw said: "We asked the women in 1999 if they had had subsequent pregnancies.

"Women who had Caesareans and forceps births had an increased risk of voluntary or involuntary infertility. Voluntary means that women were choosing not to have further children because of their first experience.

"That is why we launched the second study. It will be interesting to see what effect the debriefings had."

Mrs Kershaw, a midwife for 17 years, said most women achieve a normal delivery without forceps or other major procedures.

She said Caesareans were only done in two situations - emergencies and in cases where the mother chooses it because of complications in the pregnancy.

Mrs Kershaw added: "There are risks with a Caesarean. It is a longer stay in hospital, a longer recovery period, more chance of infection and more chance of adhesions, where your organs stick together. That can sometimes lead to infertility.

"But mothers who have Caesareans do go on to have other children, not always by another Caesarean."

Despite the risks, Mrs Kershaw said she had not seen proof that Caesareans increased the chance of all women who have them becoming infertile.

This issue is being looked at in a new national study.

Researchers from the study announced recently that women who had their first child by Caesarean were more likely to experience problems conceiving in future, compared to women who have normal vaginal deliveries.