Midwives urged to drop natural birth campaign
MOTHERS will feel less judged if midwives end their campaign for ‘natural childbirths’, according to experts.
The Royal College of Midwives is considering dropping its 12-year-old advice that women should aim to give birth without any medical interventions.
Cathy Warwick, the organisation’s chief executive, admitted it was ‘completely inappropriate for a professional to push any agenda of their own’.
Her acknowledgement follows concerns that the campaign has had tragic consequences for mothers and babies.
The hard-line agenda was blamed for the deaths of 11 babies and one mother at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay maternity unit in Cumbria.
An inquiry into the scandal – which occurred between 2004 and 2013 – attributed it to a ‘dysfunctional culture’ spearheaded by a gang of ‘musketeer midwives’. More recently, the campaign has been linked to the deaths of 15 babies and three mothers over ten years at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS trust, in Shropshire.
The NHS is currently investigating the deaths and at least seven have already been deemed ‘avoidable’.
Kim Thomas, of the Birth Trauma Association charity said: ‘We welcome the RCM’s decision to stop using the term “normal childbirth” to describe a birth that happens without intervention. The term “normal” can feel judgemental, and a lot of women feel they have failed because they didn’t give birth “normally”.’