3 thoughts on “Controversial statement of the day

  1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but when taken together don’t these two statements:

    The Lancet said mothers-to-be should not be able to opt for them if they put their babies at risk – under UK law women can override medical advice.

    It comes after research suggested home births were more risky than hospital delivery….

    The Lancet said: “Women have the right to chose how and where to give birth, but they do not have the right to put their baby at risk.”

    mean women will never be allowed the “right” to choose a home birth? If the level of heightened “risk” that removes the right to choose home birth is not defined, and all home births are more risky, then doesn’t that make it possible to argue against any home birth? Perhaps they do define the level of risk that removes this right in the Lancet, but not in this report.

    Also, why is this discussion even necessary if the following is true:

    Pat O’Brien, of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists, said: “It is very rare for women to choose to put their babies at risk, if anything it is the opposite and they will often put themselves at risk for their baby.

    The whole thing is shocking.

  2. I think you’re reading too much into this. They “do not have the right to put their baby at risk” appears a sweeping statement but it is not from the original paper and is out of context when you read the rest of the article. There are many and complex factors which can increase risks in pregnancy and childbirth, sometimes hugely, and in such cases it is appropriate to not opt for a home birth which I’m sure the majority of mothers would agree with, nobody wants to risk the chances of their unborn child. If you read the whole article it does state clearly that it is in “high-risk, complicated pregnancies [that] hospital delivery should be favoured”.

  3. @Nic — I appreciate your comment, and your reading of the full editorial. I did too, but am still worried. I agree that the editors probably didn’t intend what we read into it but I do think, they are editors of THE LANCET — they should put a bit more care in how they phrase it.

    I also dug up something else that bugs me. the editorial refers to an earlier editorial about caesarean sections: Here they write (after reviewing evidence about repeat caesareans): “A mother, then, can reduce the risk of harm to her fetus by placing herself at greater risk, and vice versa. Clearly this places doctors and other professionals in an invidious position, and this is exacerbated by a paucity of high-quality evidence.”

    I mean, again, they mean well, but.. you think this places doctors in an invidious position? What about the *&*%!ing MOTHER? Or does the Lancet think that she is not the one that has to decide – and live with the guilt/consequences?

    I appreciate the doctors have to give the advice and so are in a difficult position. But not mentioning the mother (AND FATHER/PARTNER – who is yet in another hugely difficult position deciding whether to put more risk on his/her beloved or as yet unknown child, and hopefully has a role in the process too) is difficult to stomach. The Lancet is extremely high-quality, extremely opinion-leading, extremely widely read and often quoted verbatim. That comes with responsibility to be a bit more careful in one’s wordings…

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