Archive for the ‘Pregnancy’ Category

Nice to give birth; to give birth, Nice.

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

Back in May I blogged about about draft recommendations regarding childbirth from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice). The report has been finalised, and low-risk first-time mothers will now be told that birth in a midwife-led unit is “particularly suitable” for them, and mothers who already have children will be told that choosing either midwife care or a home birth would be equally suitable.

The Institute’s new guidance says that it is safer for healthy women to give birth in a midwife-led unit or at home than in hospital, as they will be less likely to undergo potentially risky surgical interventions such as delivery by forceps, caesarean section or episiotomy.

Local health authorities will now have to ensure that all women have the choice to give birth in hospital, a midwife unit, or their own homes – meaning that thousands more babies could be born outside hospitals (Of the 700,000 babies born in England and Wales last year, 90 per cent were delivered in hospital).

Midwife-led units, or ‘birth centres’, are run by midwives without the medical facilities of a hospital (for example, epidurals are not available). They were established in the 1990s and can be either next to a main hospital maternity unit or separate.

Midwife strike

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Midwives have voted to go on a 4 hour strike on the 13th of October. The dispute, which is over pay, will be followed by a period of action short of a strike, which is likely to involve staff refusing to work unpaid overtime.

The Royal College of Midwives said midwives will still be there for women giving birth, and only ante-natal and post-natal appointments will be affected by the strike which starts at 7am.

82% of RCM members voted in favour – the first time they have ever been balloted on industrial action. As well as voting on a strike, just over 94% said they were in favour of industrial action short of a strike. Nearly half of midwives eligible voted in the ballot.

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, which has 26,000 members, said: “This is a resounding yes. It could not send a clearer signal about the level of discontent on this issue.

“The RCM will be meeting with employers to discuss our action and to ensure that mothers and babies are not put at any risk. I want to reassure women expecting a baby that midwives will continue to look after them and that they will be safe. “

Support and choice for Mums-to-be

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

New, updated draft proposals by the National Institute for Health And Care Excellence (NICE) suggest that Mums-to-be with low risk, straightforward pregnancies should be encouraged to have their babies in midwife-led birth centres, rather than on a traditional labour ward.

According to the Institute,  independent or hospital based mid-wife led units are as safe  as traditional labour wards for all low risk pregnant women and are more likely to result in a better birth experience with less medical intervention, which of course is beneficial for all concerned!

The report also looked at the safety of home births, saying that they are just as safe as other settings for low risk pregnant women who have already have a baby, but that they don’t recommend home births for first time mums.

The  clinical guideline programme director for NICE. , Christine Carson, concluded ‘every woman should ultimately have the freedom to choose where she wants to give birth and be supported in her choice.’

Pregnancy yoga is a stress buster.

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

A study from the universities of Newcastle and Manchester has found that Yoga can cut the risk of stress in pregnant women.

The study, thought to be the first of its kind,  followed 59 women in their first pregnancy. Divided into two groups,  they were assigned either an eight-week course of yoga or “treatment as usual”.

The 31 women in the yoga group took one session of hatha yoga every week. This is a gentle, basic, slow-paced stretching class with simple breathing exercises and seated meditation. Before the first session, they were asked to measure their general mood on a scale where more than 39 meant “high anxiety”. After the first week, their average score had fallen from 37 to 25. Their levels of the stress hormone cortisol also went down, by 14 per cent.

As  Antenatal stress has been linked to premature birth and developmental problems after the baby is born, it has been suggested that free yoga classes on the NHS for mothers-to-be would help reduce the costs of longer-term healthcare for the women and babies.