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Wednesday 23rd May 2018

The choice of how to give birth

29th July 2009

Cathy Warwick, General Secretary, Royal College of Midwives, says women should not be told how to give birth.


A recent study in the UK of mothers-to-be revealed they tended to be more open-minded regarding the choice of type of birth they wanted.

Since the 1970s, there has been an active lobby against homebirth, though many doctors and midwives have actively fought to give women this option.

Even so, when the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) was considering guidance on giving birth in the NHS, the home birth option was almost lost.

The question remains why some doctors and midwives devalue the choice of home birth.

Similarly, there is a "macho bullying group" directing women towards a less interventionist birth.

What midwives are continuing to fight for is a “real and informed” choice for women.

Putting midwives and women into ‘pro’ or ‘anti’ technology groups is not helpful, particularly as women often change their views during their pregnancy.

It is also known that women can be left “scarred” by a birth which may have been physically safe but has ignored the emotional aspect of it.

Above all, women want “good and unbiased information from the health professionals” to enable them to make an appropriate choice about how technology in birth - such as the development of epidurals for pain relief and Caesarean sections - can help them.

Women want to be able to make a real choice, for the health service to offer them that choice, and for that choice to be based on having all the information needed to make an informed decision.


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