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Maternity Services

Volume 406: debated on Monday 9 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what guidance he has issued to hospital maternity departments to enable women to give birth in positions other than lying down; [114727](2) what assessment he has made of the number of Caesarean deliveries in each of the last six years where such interventions might not have been necessary had the mother been advised of positions for natural delivery other than lying down in bed. [114728]

The Department of Health has issued no specific guidance to hospital maternity departments on birthing positions and no such assessment has been made of caesarean section deliveries. The safety of the woman is paramount and all decisions about the birth, including positions during labour, should be decided by the woman in consultation with her midwife or doctor.We have recently given maternity units an extra £100 million to improve maternity unit environments. Some of these improvements will include additional privacy, space or equipment to facilitate a variety of birthing positions.