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‘Multiple-birth’ antenatal care raises questions

Posted in: Birth Injury Medical Negligence 

A recently released report has flagged up some serious concerns surrounding ‘multiple-birth’ antenatal care. The report published by the Twins and Multiple Births Association and the NCT found that the care varies drastically across England. A survey of 1,400 parents found patients in the South East and West Midlands to be receiving the worst care, while those in the North East had the best.

The report highlighted the fact that NICE (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines on antenatal care were not being implemented, and as a result, specialist care was very limited in some areas. Where multiple pregnancies only account for 3% of all UK pregnancies, they have a far higher neonatal death rate and higher risk of poor health and disability after birth.

Only 10-18% of units implementing guidelines

NICE guidelines were introduced for multiple pregnancies in 2011 – stating that all women expecting multiple babies were to have a named midwife, obstetrician and sonographer with specialist knowledge and experience of multiple pregnancies. The survey found that only 10-18% of UK units had implemented these guidelines effectively. Different areas also implemented these guidelines to different degrees, with 7.8% of patients in the East Midlands being provided a specialist midwife, compared to 48% in the North East.

Recent figures have also found stillbirth rates to have risen by 13.6% between 2013 and 2014.

Keith Reed, chief executive of the Twins and Multiple Births Association, said: “This report paints a bleak picture with shocking variations in the standard of multiple-pregnancy care across the country. The NHS England maternity review needs to address this issue as a matter of urgency to prevent babies’ lives being put at risk.

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