Thursday, December 14, 2006

More women choosing home birth

From the Daily Mail 14/12/06

More women are choosing to give birth at home.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that 17,279 UK births in 2005 took place at home, compared with 15,198 in 2004.
Analysis by the NCT showed that the biggest increase - 18.9 per cent - was in Wales, where ministers have pledged to increase the number of home births.
That figure is up on the 16.2 per cent recorded in the previous year.
Wales now has a home birth rate of 3.61 per cent - the fastest growing home birth rate in the UK, the charity said.
England meanwhile had a below UK-average rise of 13.4 per cent for the same period, with a home birth rate of 2.53 per cent.
Scotland had the second highest rise in the number of home births with an increase of 14.6 per cent over the period, the NCT said.
In Northern Ireland, the number of home births fell by 12.9 per cent, resulting in a home birth rate of 0.33 per cent.
Mary Newburn, head of policy at the NCT, said: "Wales is now leading the way in provision of home birth services and choice for women.
"It would be fantastic if England could emulate this success, but the evidence suggests this will only happen if there is a commitment to a specific health service target to increase the home birth rate.
"Currently women in many areas of the UK still find it difficult to choose a home birth.
"There is not enough balanced information available to enable them to make an informed choice about where to have their baby, and the shortage of midwives means that too often the option of a home birth is either not being offered or services end up being withdrawn at short notice."
The Government has pledged to increase women's choices when it comes to where to give birth. Ms Newburn said: "The Government's aims now need to be realised so that women are able to benefit from a real choice of where to give birth, including at home.
"We know of many low-risk women all over the UK, including Brighton, London, Liverpool and Leeds who have had straightforward pregnancies yet have been denied a home birth in the last 12 months for reasons beyond their control."
TV presenter Davina McCall, the NCT's ambassador for home birth, said: "I gave birth to all three of my children at home and it was truly amazing.
"It's great to hear that more and more mums are having the same fantastic experiences, but isn't it a shame that a lot of other women still won't have their wish to give birth at home come true this Christmas?"
but there are wide regional variations, the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) said today.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Epidural anaesthesia and breastfeeding

A study published in the International Journal of Breastfeeding has found a link between epidural anaesthesia and unsuccessful or hard-to-start breastfeeding.
This link is not new: a study in 1997 found much the same link.
This one blames the effects of fentanyl, the opoid often used in epidurals, on the baby.
To put it bluntly, the fentanyl dopes the baby up.
This is bad news as women have, in my experience, been consistently told by the medical profession that the epidural does NOT cross the placenta.,,2-2497626,00.html
Meanwhile in a sidebar to this report, Dr Thomas Stuttaford makes some comments which badly need scientific back up, though he does not provide such. According to him, the epidural is marvellous because it "increases bonding" between mother and baby!!!
I wonder what evidence he has for this? In my experience a mum who has had a theatre forceps delivery or emergency c-section because of the difficulties caused by her epidural finds bonding a bit more difficult than an empowered, oxytocin-sodden mum who has felt in touch with her body throughout her labour.
I've checked on PubMed and I cannot find any study which backs him up, except those which show that C-section mums find it easier to bf and bond after a local epidural anaesthetic as opposed to a general anaesthetic. Well, Duh!
I find Dr Stuttaford's lack of concern for the possibility of a baby being UNABLE TO LATCH ON PROPERLY after birth seriously worrying!!!!
In the past I have also seen him brush aside the danger of an instrumental delivery, increased by having an epidural, as an unimportant concern. (70% of primips who have an epidural end up with an instrumental delivery)
Since there is now concern for the short term effects of forceps and ventouse on a baby's comfort, I am puzzled by his very cavalier attitude to epidurals and instrumental delivery.
I seriously wonder if Dr Stuttaford has ever seen a natural birth where a woman was in a quiet, safe environment, allowed to labour in positions of her own choice, with caring, unobtrusive support?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Actor chooses home birth shock horror

Tamzin's home birth choiceTuesday, December 5, 2006
Bodies actress Tamzin Malleson has revealed that she chose to have a home birth after witnessing the horrors caused by inept gynaecologists and obstetricians in the BBC drama.
The TV star, who is mum to seven-month-old daughter Teddie with co-star Keith Allen, says she didn't want to go anywhere near a hospital when it came to her own labour.
"When I was pregnant a lot of people said they couldn't believe I was even thinking of having a baby after working on the series.
"I had a home birth, and Bodies was partly responsible for that. I didn't want to go anywhere near a hospital and I considered it safer to have a birth at home where I felt confident, relaxed and in control. I was happy at home - in agony, but perfectly happy!"
"Keith was brilliant, he was very supportive. We had an absolute disaster with the birthing pool - we live in a cottage and our water comes from a spring, and the pump chose to break.
"Keith was going up and down the hill with a wheelbarrow filling up from people's gardens in the middle of the night," she recalls, chuckling.