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Royal College of Midwives clarifies 'normal births' stance

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The newer campaign focuses on all births The newer campaign focuses on better care for all births rather than avoiding intervention

After being the ‘subject of much attention in the press’, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has clarified its position on so-called ‘normal births’ – a term it abandoned three years ago.

‘Normal births’ was a term for births without any medical intervention, such as caesarean section or epidural, though it has not been used by the RCM since 2014 due to worries it isolates mothers who give birth with medical assistance and also pushes midwives to pursue these kinds of births ‘at any cost’.

READ MORE: Campaign for 'normal births' scrapped following baby deaths

Instead, the term ‘physiological births’ has been put into use – though the use of ‘normal births’ was brought back into the spotlight by the Times on 12 August in a front-page spread detailing the case of multiple infant and mother deaths in Cumbria due to a team of midwives mistakenly avoiding medical intervention during labour.

Now, the RCM has clarified that its Normal Birth Campaign was replaced by the Better Births Initiative, which seeks to attain better care for mothers who experience all kinds of birth.

In a statement, the RCM said: ‘We discontinued the Normal Birth Campaign three years ago in order to launch a wider Better Births Initiative. In a review of our website in May this year, references to the campaign were removed, as they were out of date.

READ MORE: 'Evidence-based' practice guidance for labour care incoming

‘The focus of the Better Births Initiative is to ensure the best birth for all women. One example of this would be to encourage women in labour to remain mobile. Remaining mobile rather than lying on a bed helps labour to progress.

‘Another example would be caring for a woman having a caesarean section ensuring she has skin-to-skin contact with her baby. The Better Births Initiative provides resources, such as case studies and webinars, to midwives and other members of the maternity care team, to enable them to provide safe care and a good maternity experience for all women and their families.’

READ MORE: Baby boxes now available in Scotland for the 'best possible start'

The RCM started a review of the initiative to ensure it complements maternity care policies around safety and quality that are being developed and implemented in the UK.

‘We are absolutely committed, as it always has been, to ensuring that all women have a safe and satisfying maternity experience,’ their statement concluded.

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