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HEALTH MATTERS : Study into birth position.

A Midland midwifery expert believes a Birmingham hospital's research into foetal positioning could eventually restore confidence in natural childbirth.

Susan Dover, senior midwifery lecturer at University of Central England, said technical interventions, such as Caesarean section, were now perceived as being "the norm."

With increasing cases of dystocia - having a difficult or abnormal birth - more women are having their babies delivered using modern techniques.

But Ms Dover, part of the APOLLO team at Birmingham Women's Hospital, believes this study could eventually restore confidence in natural childbirth.

She said: "The increasing prevalence of dystocia has certainly contributed to the rising rate of Caesarean sections.

"We think the baby's position in the womb may be part of that, so it is important this study identifies whether there's an optimal foetal position in the womb."

Current thinking is that the baby should be face down, with its back to the left side of the womb.

"But we need to find out if this is still valid or has the pregnancy experience changed significantly over the past 50 years?" Ms Dover added.

"The technical approach to birth has been accepted by mothers and midwives as being normal, we seem to have lost sight of how natural birth could be.

"It is worrying that women now talk about Caesarean sections as the 'safest way' to give birth. They don't seem to realise what they are having is major abdominal surgery, and as with all operations, there is an element of risk.

"The perception is that it is easier and quicker, I think women don't have the confidence in their bodies' ability to cope with natural childbirth
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Sep 8, 2005
Words:271
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