Monday, December 10, 2012

Instrumental deliveries ↑ but c-sections headline

This week saw the annual publication of England's maternity data by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, and as always, the cesarean rate made headlines - for example, Caesarean sections now account for a QUARTER of all births - and older mothers are the reason why.

But for anyone interested in maternity care outcomes beyond the 'controversial c-section', there were far more concerning rate increases to be found in the HSCIC's NHS Maternity Statistics, 2011-12.

Yes, the cesarean rate saw an increase of 0.1% to 25% in total (10.2% elective and 14.8% emergency), but the INSTRUMENTAL DELIVERY rate (that's forceps and ventouse - both of which are associated with increased risks for adverse outcomes) had an increase of 0.4%, to 13% of all births.

Also, EPISIOTOMIES showed an increase of 0.4% to 15.2% of all 668,936 births.

Did these 'normal' adverse outcomes receive anywhere near the interest that cesareans did? Yet these are outcomes that many women want to AVOID and some women FEAR.

I think that by focussing on what's most controversial and newsworthy, we're in danger of completely missing the real issue - the health and safety of mothers and babies.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The headline "18 per cent over mothers over 35 opted not to give birth naturally" is the worst bit of the article.

I sincerely doubt that 18 per cent actively choose without having some medical reason to do so.

Especially if you look at the figures from a FOI request dated 2010 which gives a breakdown of reasons for electives.

I really do which that newspapers which have the resources to do more FOI requests like this would do so, as they reveal the story much better than a bunch of midwives with a professional and ideological bias.

Unless they start looking properly at the data available we are going to continue being stuck in the mentality that woman are "too posh to push" and the reasons for these ELCS are groundless.

Not to mention since ELCS are statistically safer and preferable to an EMCS why is the focus on ELCS so much anyway? An ELCS is not a bad thing if it prevents worse outcomes. Yet it is constantly vilified.