Birth injury news

NHS responds to headlines on birth fears

Recently, headlines have been made about mothers-to-be opting for caesarean deliveries over natural births for fear of birth injury, and what have been referred to in more sensationalist reports as "horror stories", with details of compensation claims and personal injury solicitors. The NHS Knowledge Service has recently responded to this by drawing the public attention back to the science that underlies the stories.

This was a Swedish survey regarding the attitudes toward birth of nearly 500 pregnant women. The report was published in a reputable, peer-reviewed UK science journal, the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

The women were treated in three groups: those having a natural birth, those forced into a caesarean delivery by the prospect of a breech birth, and those choosing a caesarean delivery. The results showed that the last group were much more likely to fear birth injury than either of the first groups. They were also more likely to be older, non-Swedish, and not to have attended parenthood classes.

What this shows, then, is not that many women are scared into requesting caesareans, but that many of those who request caesareans do so through fear. The NHS encourages counselling and support for this fear, and will aim to help mothers-to-be to understand the drawbacks and benefits of both methods of delivery.

The head of the Knowledge Service is quoted as adding "The prevention and management of fear is one of the main skills of the midwife."



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