The UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) released new childbirth guidelines this week that call for more normal births, and more “control” for women in how and where they give birth. Some highlights:
- Women should have continuous labor support from a midwife.
- Interventions such as amniotomy (instrumentally breaking the bag of waters), synthetic oxytocin, and continuous electronic fetal monitoring should not be administered routinely.
- Movement should be encouraged throughout labor and women should adopt whatever positions they find “most comfortable.”
- Laboring in the water is recommended for pain relief; women should be fully informed of the risks and benefits of epidural anesthesia before choosing it.
- Women should be “discouraged” from lying flat or reclining during the pushing stage and should be “encouraged to adopt any other position.”
- Women should have the choice of where to give birth — home, hospital, or midwifery-led clinic.