Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Transfer risk from midwifery-led birth centers is real

A wait of just under two hours for an emergency cesarean transfer, and now brain damage is suspected.

The Braintree & Witham Times reports that a full internal investigation has been launched by the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, and that parents Sarah Jenkins and Jamie Murray say "they have been “failed” by the NHS after what should have been a straight-forward birth in Braintree ended with baby Riley Murray being starved of oxygen and eventually being taken to intensive care at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge."

Last April, my criticism of current thinking to encourage all 'low risk' woman to give birth in midwife-led birth centers' was published in the BMJ, as it's a policy I am wholeheartedly against.

By all means, allow women the choice to give birth in these centers - after all, the vast majority do not result in death or injury - but the NHS should not be prescribing or forcing this option on women in general, simply because they're deemed 'low risk'.

And especially not if (in addition to natural birth risks) there is the risk that no ambulance will appear when the situation becomes high risk.

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