26 April 2023
Clare Murphy, Chief Executive of BPAS, said:
“It is crucial that in our efforts to improve maternity safety we ensure risks are properly contextualised when they are communicated to women, and that they are supported – not stigmatised – as they engage with maternity services. Our research has found that women living with obesity, who now account for more than one in five pregnant women, can be refused birthing choices, with the reasons not necessarily well explained.
Women and their babies deserve world-class, safe maternity care. The relatively high rate of stillbirth in this country remains a key concern, and must be addressed. It is vital that we do this in a way that accepts risk can never be completely eliminated from any area of healthcare, and that the drive to improve safety and reduce adverse outcomes does not come at the expense of women’s right to make their own choices in pregnancy and birth – including how and where they give birth. We support the recommendation that women are given personalised information about the risks associated with different methods of delivery, but ultimately these are decisions for each pregnant woman to make.”
The full draft guidance, Intrapartum care for healthy women and babies, is available via the NICE website here.
For further information, please contact Katherine O’Brien, BPAS Associate Director of Campaigns and Communications, on katherine.o’email@example.com or 07881 265276.
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service, BPAS, is a charity that sees over 100,000 women a year for reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception at clinics across Great Britain.
BPAS exists to further women’s reproductive choices. We believe all women should have the right to make their own decisions in and around pregnancy, from the contraception they use to avoid pregnancy right the way through to how they decide to feed their newborn baby, with access to evidence-based information to underpin their choices and high-quality services and support to exercise them.
BPAS also runs the Centre for Reproductive Research and Communication, CRRC. Through rigorous multidisciplinary research and impactful communication, the CRRC aims to inform policy, practice, and public discourse. You can find out more here.