RCM welcomes new study on inducing first-time mothers
A new study published in PLOS Medicine has found that inducing first-time mothers aged 35 and over at 40 weeks could reduce the risk of stillbirth and neonatal deaths when compared to current guidelines which recommend induction of labour between 41 and 42 weeks for all women regardless of age.
The UK researchers analysed data from NHS Hospital Episode Statistics covering 77,327 first time mothers aged 35-50. They compared the risk of stillbirth or neonatal deaths between induction of labour at 39, 40 and 41 weeks and expectant management – continuing the pregnancy to either spontaneous labour, induction of labour or caesarean section at a later date.
This study found that pregnant women aged 35 and over who were induced at 40 weeks were two thirds less likely to experience a stillbirth or neonatal death compared to women who received care according the current guidelines.
Responding to the study, Gill Walton Chief Executive at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) siad; “The RCM very much welcomes this latest study and any new research of this kind that will go towards improving safety and reducing stillbirth and neonatal deaths.
“This research is important as we know that many women are now choosing to become pregnant later life and while most will have a safe uncomplicated pregnancy, for some women this may mean that their pregnancy maybe more complicated and that they will need extra care and support.
“The RCM believes that any new research however small or large must be studied and considered carefully particularly when it can help us understand how maternity policies and practices can be changed to improve safety and prevent stillbirth and neonatal deaths.
“Putting the women we care for at the centre of their maternity choices is paramount. Therefore it’s vital that women receive enough information and midwives have enough time to spend with women so that they can better understand their options. Ultimately every decision made should involve the woman who is being cared for.”
Notes to editors
The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.