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NHS Trusts still push women to have natural births despite maternity scandals

Hospitals are still promoting a “natural birth is best” philosophy – despite a succession of maternity scandals highlighting the dangers of the approach.

A Telegraph investigation has found a number of trusts continuing to push women towards “normal” births – meaning that caesarean sections and other interventions are discouraged.

On Saturday, the Health Secretary has expressed concern about the revelation, vowing to raise the matter with senior officials.

Guidelines for the NHS make it categorically clear that a woman seeking a caesarean section should be supported in her choice, after “an informed discussion about the options”.

Maternity services were last year warned by health chiefs to take care in the language they used, amid concern about “bias” towards natural births.

The warning from maternity officials followed concern that women were being left in pain and fear, with their preferences routinely ignored.

The findings come 18 months after Dame Donna Ockenden published a scathing report into maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust, which warned that a focus on natural birth put women in danger. 

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: The Telegraph, 23 September 2023


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