NHS says women should opt for home-birthing or midwife centres

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New NHS guidelines state that women are better off giving birth at home or by using midwife-led centres, rather than hospitals.

According to latest evidence, experts reveal that women who have had straightforward pregnancies are safer when they receive care from midwives, either at home or in birthing centres.

It indicated that women who opt to give birth in hospital labour wards experience an increased rate of intervention by obstetricians, including forceps births, episiotomies or Caesareans. This may be due to busy doctors wanting to complete the birthing process by the end of their shifts. This does not apply to midwife-led births.

According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) the latest figures indicate that the results for babies were the same irrespective of the setting, except those born at home to first time mothers who were at greater risk of a medical problem.

Nice has urged Clinical Commissioning Group to make sure that every area has sufficient services offer women all the available options. This will allow them to remain in control of where they wish to give birth.

According to the clinical practice director at Nice, Professor Mark Baker, it is unclear why this is the case, but it appears that the closer you are situated to the hospital and, in fact, if you are in the hospital, your chances of receiving hospital and surgical interventions is higher.

He said surgical intervention are extremely costly, so opting for midwife-led care is a cost-effective method, it offers the mother more control and it results in the delivery of healthy babies.

He added that they hope commissioners will start to effectively plan their obstetric and midwifery services in line with this guidance and move away from hospital births to midwife-led births.

Image Credit: Salim Fadhley

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