John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
  Maternity Services - Full Speed Astern
Over the past 20 or so years the "local midwife-led unit, based in a hospital or community clinic promoting natural births" have been closed down simply because there are complications during some pregancies that arise during the pregnancy.

With the larger units it is possible to ensure that the skills necessary to deal with the very rare situations are on hand. There is not the time to move people around the country and hence this way babies are born healthily and mothers remain healthy.

I have not taken part in the campaigns to protect the smaller units (such as the Sorrento in Birmingham) because I felt that the policy was right even if unpopular. That does not mean that mother are forced to have "unnatural births". What it means that if something goes wrong - which has always been the case for a small number - then it does not cause lasting problems for mum and/or baby.

I don't personally recommend birth at home (although it is an option for those people who want it) for exactly the same reasons.

This new government policy, reversing the policy of the last 20 years, seems to ignore the fact that the objective of the health service is to try to deal with all of the cases and save lives which otherwise would be lost.
 
Comments:
Got to disagree with you there John.

Surely it is as important to minimise the number of births that develop complications in the first place? And there is a lot of evidence that properly supported home births, or small maternity units, are much better in this respect.

Big hospitals are quite initimidating to many people and can feel more like a conveyor belt than a caring environment.

Of our three one was born in a major hospital and two in a lcoal maternity unit, which has also been threatened with closure several times, and we (and particularly my wife) much prefered the smaller unit.

Childbirth is a natural process, not a medical procedure, and should be treated as such unless or until there are problems.
 
I accept the latter point "Childbirth is a natural process, not a medical procedure, and should be treated as such unless or until there are problems. "

However, I would need to see evidence that when babies are born in larger units that causes complications to develop.
 
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