The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has today (4 November) published their final, updated guideline on the induction of labour.
The guidelines in its draft form prompted widespread concern from the birth world after it recommended that all women and birthing people should be offered induction at 41 weeks. It also recommended that groups at increased risk of complications, including Black and Brown women, those aged 35 or over, women with a high BMI, or after assisted conception, should be offered induction at 39 weeks.
In the final draft, the recommendations have been dropped.
Amy Gibbs, Chief Executive of Birthrights, said:
“Birthrights is delighted that NICE has listened to our concerns – shared by so many women and birthing people, healthcare professionals, and birth workers – and removed the draft proposals to routinely offer induction at 41 weeks, and to single out Black and Brown women, alongside other groups more likely to face adverse outcomes, for induction even earlier at 39 weeks. We are pleased to see NICE acknowledge the lack of evidence that induction improves outcomes for these women and their babies, and that one size does not fit all.
“Conversations around induction must be balanced, evidence-based and respect each individual’s right to make their own choice about what is best for them and their baby. This is well reflected throughout the new NICE guideline, so we now need urgently to close the gap between these principles and what happens in practice.”
Notes for editors
Our response to NICE’s consultation was published in July.
You can read NICE’s Inducing Labour here.
Birthrights is the UK charity that champions respectful maternity care by protecting human rights. We provide advice and legal information to women and birthing people, train healthcare professionals to deliver rights-respecting care and campaign to change maternity policy and systems.