Released on: 04 November 2021

In response to NICE publishing an updated guideline on inducing labour, Elizabeth Duff, Senior Policy Advisor, NCT, said: 

“It’s good news that NICE has dropped its draft proposal to offer induction at 39 weeks of pregnancy to groups at higher risk of complications, including Black, Asian and minority ethnic women. This followed NCT and other bodies representing maternity service users pointing out the lack of evidence to support such a recommendation. It’s positive that voices have been heard and action taken.

“However, induction of labour is still an intervention that has been used much more frequently in recent years and as yet there is inadequate information about longer-term impact on babies and parents. 
 
“While the current guidance states: ‘ensure women have the opportunity to ask questions’, it is highly questionable whether staffing levels in maternity care allow time for this to happen.

“At NCT, we feel it is extremely important that pregnant women and their partners feel in control of decisions about their care. Induction in itself, while it may often be an appropriate course, removes the option of spontaneous labour. In addition, as the guidance states, choices of a home birth and/or a water birth will be ruled out. Parents’ feelings of confidence and autonomy can be severely impacted by such restrictions.”

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