We gained media coverage in The Sunday Times on 7 December 2014. Written by its columnist Camilla Cavendish and entitled “I just wanted a doctor to rescue my baby” the piece comments on updated guidance, for the care of women and their babies during labour, from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).  

NICE wants women to be given greater freedom to choose where they give birth.

According to NICE, the evidence now shows midwife-led care to be safer than hospital for women whose pregnancy can be classified as low risk. Its updated guidance also states that home birth is equally as safe as a midwife-led unit and traditional labour ward for the babies of low risk pregnant women who have already had at least one child previously.

The updated NICE guidance says that women should be given this information to help them think about where they would most like to give birth, but that the final decision should be made by them and supported by healthcare professionals.

A traumatic labour convinced Camilla Cavendish that we should not encourage new mothers to choose birthing units over a hospital birth.

Others provided their opinion on the Guidance, including Sands, as featured in the extract below:

Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, says that many of the bereaved women it supports were classified as low-risk, but subsequently told that their baby had died because of intrauterine growth restriction in the womb. The NHS identifies only 30% of unborn babies with this condition.

Sands told me that it welcomes the guidance supporting low-risk, second-time mums to have the choice to give birth at home or in a midwifery-led unit. But it stresses it is very important that those women are genuinely designated as lowrisk in antenatal care. “These women are being wrongly described as low-risk and aren’t getting the monitoring they need,” the charity said. “Women can only make an informed choice if they have a full picture of their own individual risk.”

If you subscribe to The Times online you can read the full article here.