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Improving Birthing Outcomes: The Latest Research

by admin on September 19, 2016 Comments Off on Improving Birthing Outcomes: The Latest Research

Yesterday I went to a seminar on the recent outcomes of a study completed by Dr Kate Levett, Registered Acupuncturist & PhD. Kate and her colleagues at the Western Sydney University have published their paper on how Complementary Medicine and birth preparation courses similar to ‘She Births’ can assist birthing outcomes and even shorten labour times with much discussion in the media about her work.

Dr Kate Levett discussed the current state of birthing in Australia:

  • 70% women use public hospitals, 30% use private
  • How there is a need for reduction in medical interventions and this is coming from the Government.
  • That medical interventions begin a continuing cascade of interventions through a woman’s birthing.
  • How there is a lack of awareness around other options available
  • Fear in hopsitals – doctors, midwives and women
  • Our epidural rate is somewhere between 29.5% with some hospitals reporting 67%
  • C-sections rates are at 30.9%-33%
  • CAM is used by 28% of women and during their pregnancies it increases to 32.8%
  • If women use CAM during their Pregnancy, their likely to use it during their labouring & birthing.

Systematic reviews of other published papers revealed:

  • In 2011 looking at 13 trials, 1,986 women in…
  • 4 Acupressure & 9 Acupuncture Effectiveness Trials reported:
    • Pain relief
    • Shortened labours
    • Increased effectiveness of contractions
    • Hormone regulation
    • Modified pain perception
    • Less reliance on pharmaceutical pain relief
    • Fewer instrumental births
  • And in another example of 10 Relaxation & Yoga studies, 1,344 women reported:
    • Regulated their breathing
    • Increased lung capacity when pregnant
    • Movement brought relief
    • Assist guiding bub into optimal position
    • Women were more relaxed and instinctive in labour
    • Better at witnessing physical sensations
    • Better mental resilience
    • Improved Physical stamina & connection with baby

In Dr Kate Levett’s research in the latest study, she looked at using these tools in birth preparation plans and how this affected birthing outcomes. The tools included were Acupressure, Massage, Breathing Techniques & Visualisation.

There was a control group of 83 (included usual care by hopsital only) and a Treatment group of 88 ( included the birth preparation & usual care at hospital)

The results showed:

  • Epidurals – The Birth Prep group had an epidural rate of 23% compared with the control group who had 68.7%
  • Augmentation (for a stalled labour) in the Birth Prep group was 28.4% compared with the control group result of 57.8%
  • C-Sections – in the Birth Prep group was 18.2% compared with the control group result if 32.5%

Dr Levett says more research is needed in this area of Birthing & outcomes but has started a strong case to introduce CAM and Birth Preparation courses as useful tools for couples to use during their birthing to improve outcomes. Fewer medical interventions, shorter labour times, more efficient during labouring can make a huge difference to women and their babies.

What to do next:

There are specific Acupressure/ Acupuncture points that can help acheive this prior to and during labour. For more information on preparing effectively for your labour & birthing using Acupuncture, you can contact me via email here.

Or I would highly recommend getting in touch with any of the following:

Calmbirth Website

She Births website

Hypnobirthing Australia Website

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