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Royal College of Midwives to end campaign promoting "normal births"

View profile for Gemma Crompton
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Midwife struck off for looking up confidential medical records

Since 2005, the Royal College of Midwives has run a campaign to try to encourage expectant mothers to have what was deemed “normal births”. The Royal College has recently confirmed that they will alter the language used for mothers who need to give birth with medical interventions such as epidurals, inductions and caesarean sections and instead label them “physiological births”.

The altering of this language is vital. 60% of mothers now give birth with medical intervention and therefore it should not be deemed as “abnormal” to do so. The Royal College of Midwives obviously had good intentions when beginning the campaign; caesarean sections are more expensive to the NHS and result in longer recovery times for the woman and there are health benefits to the baby when born vaginally.

However, an attitude to promote and achieve vaginal delivery at any cost has been one of the factors attributed to the unnecessary deaths of 11 babies and one mother at Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust. An investigation found that some midwives, who called themselves “the musketeers” would try to deliver babies without medical intervention or the input of obstetricians even when it was obviously necessary. 

Whilst the Royal College of Midwives will continue to recognise that births without medical intervention is preferred, the change in language and attitude from midwives will hopefully avoid women feeling that they have failed by not having a “normal birth”, and, most importantly, will lead to increased safety for mothers and babies alike. 

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