Lessen needless interventions during pregnancy, says WHO

Sakal Times
Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Pune: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued new recommendations to establish global care standards for healthy pregnant women and reduce unnecessary medical interventions.

Pune: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued new recommendations to establish global care standards for healthy pregnant women and reduce unnecessary medical interventions.

According to the statistics provided by the WHO, worldwide, an estimated 140 million births take place every year. Most of these occur without complications for women and their babies. Yet, over the past 20 years, practitioners have increased the use of interventions that were previously only used to avoid risks or treat complications, such as oxytocin infusion to speed up labour or caesarean sections.

Safe birthing
Dr Nothemba Simelela, WHO Assistant Director-General for Family, Women, Children and Adolescents said that women should give birth in a safe environment with skilled birth attendants in well-equipped facilities.

“However, the increasing medicalisation of normal childbirth processes are undermining women’s own capability to give birth and negatively impacting her birth experience,“ said Dr Simelela.

“If labour is progressing normally and the woman and her baby are in good condition, they do not need to receive additional interventions to accelerate labour,” said Dr Simelela added.
Needless interventions

Childbirth is a normal physiological process that can be accomplished without complications for the majority of women and babies. However, studies show a substantial proportion of healthy pregnant women undergo at least one clinical intervention during labour and birth. They are also subjected to needless and potentially harmful routine interventions.

Ian Askew, WHO Director, Department of Reproductive Health and Research said many women want a natural birth and prefer to rely on their bodies to give birth to their baby without the aid of medical intervention.

“Even when a medical intervention is wanted or needed, the inclusion of women in making decisions about the care they receive is important to ensure they meet the goal of a positive childbirth experience,” said Askew.

Cesarean deliveries
Speaking about the scenario in the State, Dr Nishikant Shrotri, President of the Pune Obstetric and Gynecological Society (POGS) said if the society witnesses 15 to 20 per cent of C-sections (cesarean) then it is normal.

“Those are the average numbers and in medical complications, it becomes important to go ahead with the C-section. However, if we start looking at facility-based numbers then we witness a huge number. However, these hospitals where caesarean happens have the facility and other smaller hospitals refer such C-section cases to them. Which naturally increases the number of cases in a particular hospital. This should be noted,” said  Dr Shrotri.

He said if the percentage of C-sections is less than 10 per cent it is concluded that the medical facilities are not reaching the society properly.

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