No, mums don't get induced as a 'lifestyle choice'

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 Photo: Getty Images

First, women who gave birth by caesarean section were cruelly dubbed "too posh to push".

Now, those who have labour induced are being told, derisorily, that they are selfish nine-to-five mums.

The only benefits of induction, according to advice provided to expectant mums at New Zealand's Waitemata District Health Board, are that it reliably brings on labour, and that it provides women with the "ability to organise labour around social diary".

Mums: you've been schooled. That induction recommended to you by the obstetricians and midwives? It wasn't really about ensuring the birth and survival of a healthy mother and baby, it seems. It was about scheduling childbirth between brunch with the girls and then going clubbing in the evening!

At least, that's the view taught in antenatal classes on the North Shore and in west Auckland.

Waitemata DHB, to their credit, have responded in an entirely robust manner after we brought the bad antenatal advice to their attention.

Cath Cronin, the director of hospital services, announced an immediate inquiry. The staff member who published the resources had not got them approved, she told us, and they did not meet DHB standards.

The DHB is tracking down and removing the offending materials and, importantly, contacting all the parents who have been given the dangerous advice.

According to the 2014 Ministry of Health Report on Maternity. two-thirds of labours in New Zealand involve interventions, from stitches to emergency caesareans.

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Let's be clear, there are probably few, if any, mums in this country who would opt for induction or any other intervention as a lifestyle choice, popping out the baby before heading out for celebratory cocktails with friends.

And few ethical midwives or obstetricians would induce on those grounds.

This goes to a wider concern about mistrust of medical intervention.

There are those who prefer to believe poorly-sourced old wives' tales, scaremongering by word of mouth and on social media, over solid medical advice backed by extensive scientific trials.

The fact that so-called medical professionals at some of our biggest hospitals are spreading these myths is alarming.

And it comes too soon after we revealed antenatal teachers, including two midwives, advising expecting parents against vaccination – advice at stark odds with the science.

Extraordinarily, the Waitemata materials also encourage self-medicating with castor oil – a long discredited and potentially dangerous home remedy – over agreeing to a medically administered induction.

This goes beyond justifiable caution about unnecessary medical intervention.

This is plain quackery.

Sunday Star Times