Don’t say labour ward and big baby, mid­wives are told

Daily Mail - - News - By Kate Pick­les and Ben Spencer k.pick­les@dai­

MID­WIVES and doc­tors should avoid us­ing the terms ‘de­liv­ered’ and ‘big baby’ to avoid up­set­ting women in labour, say ex­perts.

In­stead, they should say the wo­man ‘gave birth’ to a ‘healthy baby’.

The new terms are con­tained in an ‘al­ter­na­tive’ lan­guage guide de­signed to ‘em­power’ preg­nant women with sug­gested phrases to re­place com­mon terms.

Mid­wives and ob­ste­tri­cians should give words of en­cour­age­ment such as ‘ you’re do­ing re­ally well’ rather than us­ing the old­fash­ioned term, ‘good girl’ dur­ing labour.

They should not use ‘anx­i­ety-pro­vok­ing’ phrases such as ‘labour ward’ but should in­stead say ‘birthing suite’.

And they should never re­fer to the preg­nant wo­man as ‘she’ and must ad­dress the wo­man di­rectly, the guide says.

The guide has been pro­duced by Pro­fes­sor An­drew Weeks, a ma­ter­nity ex­pert at the Univer­sity of Liver­pool, med­i­cal stu­dent Natalie Mobbs and Cather­ine Wil­liams, of sup­port group Na­tional Ma­ter­nity Voices. The au­thors were re­spond­ing to guid­ance is­sued 12 months ago by NHS watch­dog NICE, in which staff were told to ‘treat all women in labour with re­spect’.

The guid­ance said doc­tors and mid­wives should ‘es­tab­lish rap­port with the wo­man’ and ‘ be aware of the im­por­tance of tone and de­meanour, and of the ac­tual words used’. The NICE guid­ance did not give ex­am­ples of the words to be used, so the aca­demics, writ­ing in a let­ter to the Bri­tish Med­i­cal Jour­nal, com­piled a list of phrases to avoid.

They wrote: ‘Although eyes may roll at the thought of “po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness gone mad”, the change is well founded.

‘It is the duty of care­givers to use lan­guage which will help em­power all women.

‘Lan­guage sig­nals the na­ture of the re­la­tion­ship between wo­man and care­giver, and can deny or re­spect a wo­man’s au­ton­omy.

‘Lan­guage mat­ters as a way of re­spect­ing women’s views and en­sur­ing that they are em­pow­ered to make de­ci­sions. The use of in­sen­si­tive lan­guage can be in­dica­tive of an un­der­ly­ing malaise, which re­veals un­der­ly­ing at­ti­tudes and prej­u­dices.

‘It is es­sen­tial that we achieve re­spect­ful prac­tice, en­sur­ing that women have com­plete un­der­stand­ing and con­trol of their own care.’

Ed­ward Mor­ris, vice pres­i­dent of the Royal Col­lege of Ob­ste­tri­cians and Gy­nae­col­o­gists, said his or­gan­i­sa­tion seeks to abide by the prin­ci­pals of the NICE guid­ance, and has is­sued its own guide­lines.

He said: ‘This opin­ion piece, pub­lished in The BMJ, high­lights the im­por­tance of cre­at­ing a cul­ture of re­spect for women dur­ing preg­nancy, labour and af­ter birth.

‘It is es­sen­tial that health­care pro­fes­sion­als en­sure women feel like they are in con­trol of their own preg­nancy and birth and are in­volved in what is hap­pen­ing to them.

‘The RCOG wel­comes this recog­ni­tion and seeks to abide by these prin­ci­pals in our own guide­lines to en­sure that women are at the cen­tre of their own care.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.