Nice has failed parents with its U-turn on induced labour | Letter

Catherine Roy, Susanna Haddon and Dr Ruth-Ann Harpur are deeply concerned by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s revised guidance

Lobbying maternity organisations have convinced the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) to remove the choice for patients to consider induction of labour from 39 weeks gestation. Nice has also downgraded an offer to induce labour at 41 weeks gestation to a “discussion” (Watchdog U-turns on recommendation to induce pregnant women at 41 weeks, 4 November).

This is deeply concerning. The evidence shows that inducing labour at 39 weeks gestation reduces the chance of a caesarean birth and may lead to an easier birth (Arrive trial). There is also evidence that stillbirth increases after 41 weeks of gestation (Swepis and Index trials).

The possibility of inducing labour at 39 weeks is now only available on request, for those in the know. And will a discussion balancing the risks of stillbirth with concerns about the “birth experience” at 41 weeks convey the information parents need about prolonged pregnancy to make informed decisions about their care?

Organisations such as the NCT and Birthrights, which celebrated the changes, are neither clinical organisations nor service user groups. They should not be viewed as the voice of parents, nor be deemed qualified to comment on clinical matters. By not insisting that parents are informed of all birth options and by bowing to the agenda of maternity activists, Nice has failed parents.
Catherine Roy, Susanna Haddon and Dr Ruth-Ann Harpur

Have an opinion on anything you’ve read in the Guardian today? Please email us your letter and it will be considered for publication.


The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Warmer words might help us to deal with the pain of miscarriage | Letters
Letters: Rosie Toothill, Mike Corcoran and Shirley Harrington respond to Katy Lindemann’s article about the grief of losing a baby being compounded by insensitive language


12, Oct, 2018 @3:45 PM

Article image
Suffering of childbirth is made acceptable by its glorification | Letters
Letters: More elective caesarians should be carried out, says Hilary Farey, and Lizzy Gwilliam provides a network for disabled mothers


16, Oct, 2018 @4:40 PM

Article image
Health visitors are crucial for families | Letters
Letters: Mental illness such as post-natal depression is helped by home visits from a specialist community public health nurse, writes Woody Caan


07, Oct, 2020 @4:13 PM

Article image
An injection of hope for pregnant women | Letter
Letter: Molly Warrington welcomes the news that women at risk of miscarriage may now be helped by progesterone injections


28, Nov, 2021 @4:50 PM

Article image
No lack of real beer due to CO2 shortage – just Eurofizz | Brief letters
Brief letters: Real ale | NHS at 70 | Vaginal treatments | Morris cars | Hiding valuables


03, Jul, 2018 @4:07 PM

Article image
Call to review baby death rates at more than 20 NHS trusts and boards
Inquiry urges those with higher than average stillbirth and newborn death rates to examine their maternity care to see if mistakes were made

Sarah Boseley Health editor

16, Dec, 2015 @10:57 AM

Article image
Mothers are being abused during childbirth. We need our own #MeToo | Sally Gimson
Women are scared to speak out about what has happened as they give birth, says Sally Gimson, deputy editor of Index on Censorship

Sally Gimson

28, Dec, 2018 @11:00 AM

Article image
Yes, women should choose their maternity care. Why isn’t it happening now? | Rebecca Schiller
Baroness Cumberlege’s report proposing personal birth budgets is what many women have wanted for decades – the tricky bit is putting it into practice

Rebecca Schiller

23, Feb, 2016 @3:40 PM

Article image
This satnav of the labour ward is driving us the wrong way | Annalisa Barbieri
Annalisa Barbieri: Birth monitors cost the NHS millions, and were never meant to replace a labouring woman's default help: the midwife

Annalisa Barbieri

15, Apr, 2011 @8:00 PM

Article image
Reframe how we talk about miscarriage | Letter
Letter: Jean Simons on the Duchess of Sussex’s experience and how we can start a conversation about grief or loss


30, Nov, 2020 @5:09 PM