A controversial new guideline issued by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the United Kingdom’s professional association for ob/gyns, calls for physicians to encourage patients to have a “normal” birth, which is defined as “without induction, without the use of instruments, not be caesarean section and without general, spinal or epidural anaesthetic before or during delivery.” The guideline also encourages physicians to work with midwives so women can deliver at home or in a birthing center when appropriate.
The move is largely cost-driven, with Caesareans costing the NHS £1,200 and epidurals around £200.
Dr. Charles Alessi, interim chair of NHS clinical commissioners said: “Current financial imperatives and flatlining budgets mean we simply have to do things differently. If midwife-led services offer the same outcome in terms of safety and patient satisfaction as well as saving money, then commissioners will back them, quite rightly.”
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