Women are now better off giving birth at home or in mid-wife led centres, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has said.

New evidence suggests that women who have had low-risk pregnancies are better off when cared for by midwives outside of hospitals, where there is an increased likelihood of interventions such as caesareans.

Sources have claimed that some busy doctors may try to speed up the labour process by carrying out unnecessary caesareans, whereas midwives can be more patient.

The outcomes for babies were found to be the same in all birth settings, except for those being born at home to first time mums where there slightly higher risk of complications.

Professor Mark Baker, NICE’s clinical practice director, said: “It’s very difficult to explain why this happening but the closer you are to hospital and indeed if you are in hospital the more likely you are to receive hospital care and surgical interventions.

“We hope that commissioners will start to plan their midwifery and obstetric services in line with our guidance, a shift away from hospitals and towards midwifery-led care.”

Susan Bewley, professor of Complex Obstetrics at King’s College London, who helped develop the recommendations, stressed that they are in the best interests of mums and babies, not the NHS purse.

She added: “Some women may prefer to have their baby at home or in a midwife-led unit because they are generally safer – that is their right and they should be supported in that choice.

“But, if a woman would prefer to have her baby in a hospital because it makes her feel ‘safer’, that is also her right. Giving birth is a highly personal experience and there is no ‘one size fits all’ model that suits all women.

“What’s important is that women and their families are given the most up-to-date information based on the best available evidence so that they can make an informed decision about where the mother gives birth to her child.”

The updated guidelines also recommended one-to-one care for all women in labour.

To read the full Essex County Standard article visit: http://www.essexcountystandard.co.uk/news/national/11640604.Childbirth_better_at_home_say_Nice/

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