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Water jabs and burning herbs offered during natural births at NHS hospitals

Mothers are being offered water injections by the NHS to relieve pain during childbirth, while in some hospitals midwives are burning herbs to encourage breech babies to turn in the womb.

Safety campaigners have dubbed the practices dangerous and say that they amount to “pseudoscience” being offered by the health service. They have called on the chief executive of NHS England, Amanda Pritchard, to ban their use in a letter published over the weekend.

At least three trusts in England offer water injections for pain relief, including Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Trust, United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust and North Tees and Hartlepool Trust.

Information on the Newcastle trust’s website describes the injections as an “alternative form of pain relief” while in Lincolnshire patients are told the body’s response to the injections “prevents pain signals from reaching the brain.”

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which is responsible for setting out which treatments patients should receive, has said the NHS should not use injected water for pain relief.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: The Times, 27 November 2022


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