What Do You Want To Know About Your Chosen Maternity Unit?
During pregnancy, and even before, getting your head around the available maternity services in your area and what type of birth you want can be tricky.
So we at eumom were interested to read some of the details and stats from Cuidiú’s new website bump2babe which gives information on every one of the 19 maternity units and the two midwifery-led units in the Republic of Ireland. With every one of the centres contributing their information, the site covers birthing statistics, policies, practices and services.
The eumom team may have enjoyed a general gander at the statistics, but expectant mums can also spend time exploring the services and policies of their chosen hospitals for each stage of the pregnancy, with questions on the availability of combined care, antenatal classes, policy on cutting the cord and skin to skin, and even facilities for special care, bereavement support, and the opportunity for a vbac.
So what has Cuidiú’s research discovered?
Irish maternity services are still largely consultant-led. This means that policies vary between different units, and there is a wide range in many of the statistics across the 19 maternity units. In the case of caesareans, or induction of labour, the rates for different units can vary by as much as 75%. Levels of these interventions, for first-time mothers in particular, are very high and have risen since Cuidiú’s last guide was compiled in 2011.
A worrying finding, is that the right of the mother to give informed refusal, for example, witholding consent for a procedure, is not always protected. This means that in some cases, units are solely focused on securing consent for interventions, without listening to the mother’s wishes, which can make the process more stressful for parents.
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The policy of routine induction of labour when an expectant mother is past her estimated due date varies across the units from 40 weeks +10 days to 40 weeks +14 days. The instance of induction varies from 0% in Midwifery led units (though mother’s may be referred to hospitals in this case, to over 30%, though this can vary from consultant to consultant, and should be based on clinical need and/or on an individual basis.
The rate at which mothers attempt a vaginal birth after a previous caesarean (VBAC) ranges between 29% and 57%. This figure is an indicator of the degree to which women are being offered information, and encouraged to consider VBAC by the maternity unit. Ireland has a high level of caesarean births, which brings with it certain extra risks for mother and baby. Promoting VBACs is an effective way of reducing the overall caesarean rate as repeat caesareans account for a significant portion of the overall rate. Typically, 60-75% of women attempting VBAC end up having a vaginal birth.
Read Next: What Happens On The Day Of The Birth?
There’s plenty more to read about, so we’ll keep exploring!