Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Mother and baby doing well

We're counting the days until Christmas. For many it's a chance to have a few days off work, get lots of presents, and over indulge. It is also about the Christmas story and a woman who went on a long donkey ride and gave birth in a barn.

Mary's baby arrived safely and Mary herself suffered no ill effects. Many women aren't so lucky. Globally half a million women die every year during pregnancy and childbirth.

Even in the UK having a baby isn't without its risk. Between 2003 and 2005 almost 300 women died during pregnancy or birth. This isn't a figure we hear often. In fact, racking my brains for a story to illustrate this with the last I could recall was the Laura Touche case - she died at the Portland private hospital in London following a Caesarean section. Most of the news stories I did find were about babies dying, rather than their mothers.

In Mrs Touche's case there was an investigation into claims of negligence. Earlier this year Rowan Pelling, writing in the Independent about her Channel 4 documentary claimed that staff shortages were putting mothers at risk.

CEMACH - the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health, has today published a report looking into the reasons why women die. They discovered that many deaths were related to obesity. According to an item on the PatientUK website the previous report into maternal deaths found that psychiatric illness was the largest cause of death.

CEMACH is one of many bodies that keeps a watchful eye on health in the UK. NCEPOD looks at patient outcome and deaths and has just published "Trauma: who cares?" looking at emergency care in the UK.

The Healthcare Commission keeps a beady eye on all aspects of health care, including rating individual NHS Trusts. It has published its own survey on the quality of maternity care.

The National Library for Health has a specialist library devoted to women's health. For the public the BBC has a range of information on pregnancy, birth and becoming a parent. It doesn't mention the risk of dying.

Interestingly, although CRUSE, BUPA and the Royal College of Psychiatrists, among others, provide information on coping with bereavement, I've not been able to find any support particular for men who have lost their wives or partners in childbirth.

(c) creative commons - image 1, image 2, image 3

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I didn't think that the e version of the latest CEMACH report could get any worse but they have done it. What a mess.

Thanks for the tip offs about the documents