Less painkillers being used during childbirth, report finds

New NHS Digital data has revealed that painkillers are being used less during childbirth than they were a decade ago, with the use of analgesics or anaesthetics before or during delivery dropping from 67% to 61%.

The 2018-2019 NHS Maternity Statistics show that the number of deliveries is also at its lowest level in a decade, falling 7.5% from 652,638 in 2008-09 to 603,766 in 2018-19, and that there has been a 3.6% drop from 2017-18, when there were 626,203 deliveries.

Further to the findings, deliveries for women under 20 have more than halved in a decade, whereas deliveries for women in their thirties has increased by 7%, climbing from 279,206 in 2008-09, to 298,590 in 2018-19.

The data also contains reports from the Maternity Services Data Set (MSDS), NHS Digital confirmed, which found that 97.2% of women (318,363) reported a zero alcohol intake during antenatal bookings.

Carmel Lloyd, head of education at the Royal College of Midwives, said that the RCM is supporting the initiative and “welcomes it.”

She continued, “It sits firmly within the aims of our Leadership Manifesto published earlier this year. This aims to support and develop future midwifery research leaders.

“Research is crucial to ensuring the care that women and their babies receive is a safe and of the highest quality possible. It also ensures that midwifery practise is up to date, using the best and latest evidence. This is about delivering better care and supporting midwives and maternity support workers to do that.”

The report continued to state that the most common method of delivery recorded was spontaneous, and that this was the most common across all age groups, apart from 40 and over where the most common method of delivery was caesarean.

Anna Smith – Pharmatimes