Thursday, February 14, 2013

Two letters to BMJ editor published today

In response to the publication of a new research paper on the Maternal and fetal risk factors for stillbirth, I wrote two Rapid Responses, and they were published today.

In the first, I ask the researchers whether there is any other data available (in addition to that published) on the gestational ages of the stillbirths that were analyzed in their study, as this information is very useful for women deciding on delivery mode:

Gestational ages at which stillbirths occur and maternal or fetal risk factors observed at term

And in the second, I talk about the caesareans, stillbirth and maternal mortality in Greece and the Netherlands, and question whether the push for 'normal' birth and minimal intervention is the best approach in maternity care:

Reducing mortality is not as simple as low cesarean rate good, high cesarean rate bad

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

This is  a very quick post to reassure readers who may have read the story making worldwide headlines yesterday: Caesarean deliveries and formula feeding linked to lifelong diseases: research

Incredibly, and despite the fact that it only involved 24 infants, 6 of whom were delivered by cesarean (and we don't know what type of cesarean), one Canadian paper (The Edmonton Sun) even went as far as to call it "the first large study of its kind in North America."

Thankfully, the NHS choices website has produced an excellent 'Behind the headlines' appraisal of the study: Caesarean birth link to asthma lacks proof.

It concludes, "The study does not provide any evidence that the mode of delivery or feeding pattern was the cause of the bacterial levels measured. Neither does the study provide any evidence that being born by caesarean delivery leads to developing asthma later on in life."

Busy blogger

I'm conscious that I haven't blogged for more than a month now, and I have a number of saved drafts that have accumulated here in recent weeks, but I'd like to assure readers that this is only because I have been inundated with birth research and other deadlines throughout January.

As just one example, NICE is currently writing Quality Standards on numerous areas of healthcare, and my organisation recently submitted feedback on the 'Caesarean' Quality Standard draft and there are two others ongoing this month. Each one requires vast amounts of reading and research, and together with other ongoing projects, my blog often ends up taking a temporary back seat.

Apologies for this, but rest assured that I am working hard to ensure that there is greater balance in both the delivery of maternity care, and the information that is provided to pregnant women.