11th August 2017
Doula UK welcomes the NMPA, a collaboration between three medical Royal Colleges, which highlights the importance of obstetricians, midwives and neonatologists working collaboratively to deliver improved outcomes for women and their babies. The fact that so many clinicians and healthcare providers took part in this audit is extremely positive, but it has highlighted the fact that continuity of care is still not guaranteed.
A joint guidance document for Clinical Commissiong Groups published in 2012 by The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) with the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and National Childbirth Trust (NCT) previously highlighted the importance of maternity services offering what women and their families need for safe and positive births.
In 2016 the findings of the National Maternity Review, chaired by Baroness Julia Cumberlege, were published in the Better Births paper, which set out a vision that maternity services (across England) should become `safer, more personalised, kinder, professional and more family friendly’. Doula UK supports this vision and continues to advocate for every woman’s right to choose and will continue to work with and support our clinical and healthcare provider colleagues to deliver continuity of care to all women.
Our own 2012 survey found that women who were supported by a doula experienced a 25% drop in intervention rates compared with the national average, while the 2011 Cochrane Review of the effects of Continuous Support during Labour demonstrated similar findings. In addition it showed that women who had continuous support as they laboured were less likely to request epidurals and more likely to be satisfied with their birth experiences. Therefore well supported births tend to be less costly in terms of both intervention and the long term well being of the mother.
Doula UK remains hopeful that the recent findings will trigger the meaningful investment and change which earlier reviews have called for.