Midwife-led births prove better for all in Shropshire

Nearly two thirds of women who have given birth in Shropshire since April have done so without the need for surgical intervention, new figures have revealed.

Midwife-led births prove better for all in Shropshire

It comes after health advisory body the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence claimed expectant mums were better off having children at home or in midwife-led care centres.

The Shropshire Star revealed yesterday that new evidence showed women who have had straightforward pregnancies are safer in labour when cared for by midwives, both in specialist birth centres or equally in their own home.

But women who choose to give birth in traditional labour wards at hospitals undergo a higher rate of intervention by specialist obstetricians, including a birth by forceps, a Caesarian section or an episiotomy.

There are five Midwife-Led Units – or MLUs – in Shropshire. They are in Bridgnorth, Ludlow, Oswestry, Shrewsbury and Telford, with one consultant-led unit at the new £28 million Women and Children's Centre at Telford's Princess Royal Hospital.

However, there was absolutely no way I would have considered giving birth at home.

Having your first baby can be terrifying – no matter how many episodes of One Born Every Minute I watched leading up to Jack's arrival, nothing could have prepared me for what going into labour is actually like.

My labour lasted almost 24 hours, and though I didn't spend all that time in the delivery room, I was checked by the midwives to see how things were progressing and to reassure me that everything was going well.

I saw a number of midwives throughout my labour and every one of them was kind and reassuring.

It was during my stay that I really appreciated the work the midwives do.

Day or night, when I needed them, they were there. No question I had was too small or too silly to answer.

They even helped with things like giving Jack his first bath and made my partner Gareth feel just as welcome and involved with every stage.

They took the time to make sure I was feeling well and coping with the first days and made sure I felt confident before going home to start my new life as a mum.

If I had given birth at home, though they may have been a phone call away, I don't think I would have felt quite as reassured.

Wendy Cutchie, lead midwife for MLUs and community midwifery services at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said: "Our aim at our MLUs in Bridgnorth, Ludlow, Oswestry, Shrewsbury and Telford is to provide a homely atmosphere for low-risk pregnancy, labour and birth.

"Pregnant women are given one-to-one care during labour, are involved at all stages of their pregnancy in making decisions about their care, and are treated with kindness and compassion at all times.

"For low-risk pregnancies our MLUs are the ideal places for women to give birth.

"Research and experience have shown that Midwife Led Units are associated with considerable benefits to mothers and babies, with an associated reduction in the use of drugs, medical interventions and postnatal problems."

She added: "Across both our Midwife and Consultant Led Units we always aim for the best experiences and outcomes for mothers-to-be.

"Shropshire has one of the lowest Caesarean section rates in the UK and the majority of births that take place on the consultant unit are not assisted.

"In the year 2014/15, up until the end of November, 65 per cent of births have been normal, unassisted deliveries."

Nice urged Clinical Commissioning Groups to ensure every area had enough services to offer all options to women so they could be in control of where they wanted to give birth.

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