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Induced Births

Volume 951: debated on Tuesday 13 June 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will initiate discussions with hospitals providing maternity services with a view to ensuring that mothers who do not wish to have births induced for non-medical reasons are not subjected to induction procedures.

A small team of officials from my Department who undertook a series of visits to maternity hospitals in 1975 found no evidence to suggest that induction was used for non-medical reasons, and I have no reason to suspect that this situation has changed. The team's report did, however, indicate a need, for greater discussion between hospital staff and mothers of the proposed use of induction and other modern obstetric techniques. It also suggested that dissatisfaction among some mothers may have been caused by their emotional and psychological expectations of childbirth not being fully met in the use of these techniques. These conclusions were discussed by the statutory advisory committees and drawn to the attention of the professions concerned. The booklet "Human Relations in Obstetrics" is being revised with the help of members of the statutory advisory committees, and the importance of full discussion with the mother of the use of induction or other modern techniques where these are proposed will be emphasised.