Midwife-led care helps reduce the rate of unnecessary c-section births, study finds
Around 1 in 4 pregnant women in the UK has a caesarean birth, a rate that has continued to rise over the past decade.
Caesarian sections are surgical procedures that are undertaken by medical professionals for medical reasons, in order to save the life of a woman and her infant.
However, many medical experts believe there are often high numbers of unnecessary c-sections administered, without a medical reason, which can put mum and baby at risk.
A new study finds the midwife-led model of hospital care is associated with fewer c-sections.
Midwives reduce unnecessary caesarean births, study finds
Researchers at Deakin University analysed 330 babies born at Horsham’s Wimmera Base Hospital in 2017. Of these, 31.4 per cent were c-sections with spontaneous labour and 29.7 per cent with induced labour.
The study found that midwifery services helped to reduce the number of caesarean deliveries that were often low risk.
High risk cases occur when women have diabetes, high blood pressure or when the baby is not in the right position for vaginal labour.
Lead researcher Professor Alison Hutchinson reveals that caesarean rates have grown from 31 per cent in 2006 to 34 per cent in 2017.
“It’s a major operation for the mother. There’s the risk of infection, a lot of pain, a slower recovery and they’re more likely to have challenges with breastfeeding,” she said.
“Midwives use a lot of effective strategies to assist women through labour. They can really help coach and support women to birth their baby naturally using movement, positional changes and massage.”
Medical professional says midwives are present for low risk cases
Wimmera Health Care Group obstetrician Dr Yakep Angue says midwives are mostly only present in cases that are low risk.
“[Midwives] connect very well with the patients. They tend to get a good outcome. They see them on a much regular basis. With specialists, they get referred to us only for a short time,” he tells The Wimmera Mail-Times.
“Doctors tend to deal with high-risk cases – those who are unlikely to deliver naturally.”
Australia has one of the highest rates of caesarean births in the world with 34 per cent of all births delivered via caesarean section.
The c-section rate has nearly doubled there since 1991 and private hospitals have a higher rate compared to public hospitals.