Staff at Medway Maritime Hospital in Kent recently initiated a new project encouraging women to stop pushing during childbirth. The project comes after The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Royal College of Midwives highlighted a sharp rise in severe perineal tearing, which was reported to affect around 14,000 women in 2013 to 2014. Over a 12-month period following initiation of the project, incidences of severe tearing decreased significantly from 7% to 1%.
As part of the project women are encouraged to try alternate positions during labour, such as standing, leaning or giving birth on their knees, rather than lying on their back. Midwives are also discouraged from pulling the baby out once the shoulders have emerged, reducing pressure on the perineum.
The project’s impressive results feature in the European Journal Of Obstetrics & Gynaecology And Reproductive Biology and there are now plans to roll it out on a national scale.
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