PRESS RELEASE - Embargoed until 11th June 00.01 hrs

New Caesarean Quality Standard moves closer to respecting women's choice but risks are still being covered up

The Caesarean Quality Standard, released today, is a big step towards addressing some of the issues in the Francis Enquiry. This guidance will mean maternity services will be assessed on how women feel about their care not just on clinical outcomes. Our key concern remains that medium risk women are still not being given accurate in formation.

The BTA has analysed data from a review of UK based delivery related perinatal deaths. 1 There were 963,24 6 planned vaginal births versus 48,301 planned caesarean births in Scotland from 1988 to 2007. Although the risk of perinatal death was very small for both groups, planned vaginal birth had nearly four times the death rate of planned caesarean births (7.3 7 per 10,000 compared with 1.86 per 10,000). Nearly half the vaginal birth deaths were related to oxygen starvation but none in the caesarean group which suggests brain damage cases may also be higher. Research indicates that many of the women likely to have traumatic vaginal birth linked to perinatal death could have been identified antenatally or helped earlier in labour. 2

Straightforward birth usually has the best outcomes whilst traumatic vaginal births have the very worst. 3 It results not only in more baby deaths but more injury to the mother, more incontinence, more PTSD and massively more cost to the NHS.

Research Officer Maureen T readwell said, " The NHS is just not good enough at spotting women with moderate risk factors or identifying when normal labour is going wrong. Older mums, those with large babies, malpositioned babies , intense fear of birth, those requiring complex induction, and those with multiple risk factors need to be given better information and offered choice of delivery. The shocking case of the young mum left to deliver a 15lb baby vaginally with no discussion of the implications for either her own health or that of the baby highlights how far the NHS has to go. All those who opt for vaginal delivery regardless of risk need much better care and information than they are presently receiving '

  1. Rates of and factors associated with perinatal deaths among term i nfants in Scotland Jama Dhamintra Pasupathy et al 2009
  2. Ten years of Maternity Claims NHS Litigation Authority 2012
  3. Maternal morbidity associated with cesarean delivery without labor compared with spontaneous onset of labor at term. Allen VM, O'Connell CM, Liston RM, Baskett TF. Obstet Gynecol. 2003 Sep;1 02(3):477 - 82.

For more information contact BTA Press Officers : Lucy Jolin 07786 448278

Research Officer: Maureen Treadwell 01264 860380 or 0774958300




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