News release: Research findings show 'normal' birth to be a thing of the past

Media and Promotion Office (2001) News release: Research findings show 'normal' birth to be a thing of the past. Other. University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), Preston.

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Important research led by a lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire is set to prove that most women experience some sort of intervention during the birth of their babies and cast doubt over the latest finding of a major health survey.

The publication of the National Sentinel Audit later this month shows that the rate of caesarean section is going up across the country, but it is also likely to record that most women have their babies normally. However, a survey led by Dr Soo Downe, in collaboration with Beverley Beech of the Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services and the Trent Research Midwives Group, indicates that most women with supposed normal deliveries do in fact experience a range of interventions during their labour.

Published this week in the British Journal of Midwives, the research included 1464 women in the survey. Out of the 956 births recorded during the study as being normal or spontaneous, 596 women had at least one of a set of five interventions, with little difference for those having their first baby or for those who had had a baby before.

Findings show that one third of all women recorded as having a spontaneous or normal birth had their labour started or speeded up artificially.

With the interest that this work is exciting in Europe and the USA, the researchers intend to carry out further studies both in the UK and overseas.

1 October 2001

Please note:
For further information, please contact Dr Soo Downe, Principal Lecturer (research), Department of Midwifery Studies, University of Central Lancashire, tel: 01772 893815, mobile: 07944376504, email:


Beverley Lawrence Beech, Honorary Chair, Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services, tel: 01753 652 781

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