This consensus statement includes discussion about why normal birth matters, the Information Centre definition of ‘normal delivery’ with details of the inclusion and exclusion criteria, and recommendations for action to support normal birth.
There is also further information on government policies, recent trends and factors that affect levels of intervention and normal birth rates.
Why normal birth matters
With appropriate care and support the majority of healthy women can give birth with a minimum of medical procedures and most women prefer to avoid interventions, provided that their baby is safe2 and they feel they can cope.3
Members of the Maternity Care Working Party are concerned about rising intervention rates and wide variations between different services in terms of planned and unplanned caesarean sections, and operative births,4,2 as these procedures are known to be associated with both physical and psychological morbidity.3
We all want mothers and babies to come through birth healthy and well-prepared for the changes, demands and emotional growth that follows.
Procedures used during labour which are known to increase the likelihood of medical interventions should be avoided where possible.
However, it is important that women’s needs and wishes are respected and they should be able to make informed decisions about their care.
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