Friday, April 17, 2009

Births at home as safe as hospital, study suggests

There is a lot of ideology surrounding home births so these results should be treated with caution. Successful homebirth programs are the ones with rapid access to hospitals if things start to go wrong -- and in some places that may mean access to a private hospital as triage for pregnancy problems at government hospitals can sometimes be shockingly lax. Hospitals kill babies too

Midwives are calling for a "seismic shift" to enable more women to give birth at home after a study suggesting that home deliveries can be as safe as those in hospital. Research covering nearly 530,000 births in the Netherlands found that women had a no greater risk of their baby dying or becoming ill if they gave birth at home rather than in hospital. The Royal College of Midwives said that the study was a "major step forward" in showing that home births were safe for women with low risk of complications, but added that the NHS would need a fundamental reorganisation to support more home births.

The Government has promised all women in England a choice of where they would prefer to give birth by the end of this year, but experts say that a lack of community midwives could make this unrealistic in many areas. According to the RCM Royal College of Midwives an extra 5,000 full-time midwives are needed urgently to fulfil this and other pledges on maternity, but ministers have promised only to recruit an extra 3,400 full-time midwives by 2012.

Louise Silverton, the deputy general secretary of the college, said that "to begin providing more home births there has to be a seismic shift in the way maternity services are organised. "The NHS is simply not set up to meet the potential demand for home births, because we are still in a culture where the vast majority of births are in hospital. There also has to be a major increase in the number of midwives because they are the people who will be in the homes delivering the babies."

Celebrity mothers including Davina McCall and Charlotte Church are credited with making home births more popular, but less than 3 per cent of all births in England and Wales took place at home in 2006, the latest figures show. This compares with nearly one in three (30 per cent) of all births taking place at home in Holland.

Lying down during the early stages of childbirth may prolong the agony of labour, a review of medical evidence by the Cochrane Collaboration suggests. Researchers found that the first stage of labour was significantly shorter for women who kneel, stand up, walk around or sit upright. The review by the Cochrane Collaboration, the organisation that promotes evidence-based medicine, used data from 21 studies involving 3,706 women in developed countries since the 1960s. The first stage of labour was about an hour shorter in those who adopted upright positions compared to those who lay down, the researchers said.

Annemarie Lawrence, of the Institute of Women's and Children's Health at the Townsville Hospital in Queensland, Australia, commented: "In most developing countries, women stand up or walk around as they wish during the early stages of birth with no ill effects. Based on these results, we would recommend that women are encouraged to use whichever positions they find most comfortable, but are specifically advised to avoid lying flat."


Childhood photos could hold the secret to your marriage

Happiness is largely a disposition and it is no surprise that happy people are less likely to get dissatisfied with their marriages

If you ever wondered whether your marriage might end in divorce, the answer might lie in a family album. According to scientists it is possible to predict whose marriages will fail by looking at photographs taken decades earlier. Those with the brightest smiles are more than three times as likely to have a strong marriage than those who frown their way through family outings as a child or teenager. Even snaps taken at the age of five yield clues about the path a person's life will take.

'Smile intensity predicted whether or not participants divorced at some point in their lives,' said the researchers. 'The less intensely participants smiled, the more likely they would be divorced later in life.' To make the link, the researchers asked almost 650 adults for pictures taken during their final year of school and rated the brightness of their smiles. The men and women ranged in age between 21 and 87, meaning some of the snaps were 70 years old.

The scientists, from DePauw University in Indiana, then asked the volunteers if they had ever been divorced - and matched their answers with the data on their smiles. Those with the weakest smiles were more than three times as likely to have been through a divorce than those who beamed their way through their teenage years, the journal Motivation and Emotion reports.

A second experiment, which included pictures taken when people were as young as five confirmed the finding. The researchers think it is possible that happy sorts are more likely to try to work through rocky spots in relationships. Alternatively, those with a sunny disposition may marry similarly upbeat souls. It is also possible that happiness is contagious.


1 comment:

John A said...

Birth: private vs "public" hospital subset - "Hospitals kill babies too."

Many yeras ago, the publi hospital issued a press relase crowing about its superior record of low infant deaths rate. My mother bitterly ponted out that this hospital was notorious to nurses and doctors for transferring any infants with problems to private hospitals in the area as soon as possible rather than treating them.