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Protecting human rights in childbirth

Survey finds only one in four felt the information they received prepared them for induction

A survey of more than 2,000 women in the UK has found many lacked enough information to make an informed decision about induction of labour.

In August 2021, the Patient Information Forum conducted an online survey into women’s experiences of being induced in collaboration with maternity charities including Birthrights.

In less than a fortnight, 2,325 women responded, providing more than 6,300 free text comments and the results were published today.

Our Programmes Director, Maria Booker said:

“This survey confirms what we hear on the Birthrights advice line: that the quality of conversations around induction is not good enough and women & birthing people often feel like they have no choice. Given that one in three pregnant women are induced, this is a real cause for concern. As well as making accessible, evidence-based information more widely available, we urgently need to equip healthcare professionals with the data, tools and skills to have in-depth and tailored conversations with women. Every individual has the right to make an informed decision about induction and any other aspect of their maternity care.” 

Key findings of the survey include: 

  • Fear of induction was ranked as the second biggest birth concern, second only to fear something might happen to their baby 
  • 40% of respondents felt the information they were given about induction was not detailed enough 
  • More than 50% of respondents received verbal information only 
  • 65% did not have enough risk benefit information to make an informed decision 

The report recommends the following:

  • Support Trusts and Local Maternity Systems to embed and make personalised care and support planning guidance a reality
  • Improve risk/benefit communication
  • Embed women’s right to choose through the use of consistent national decision support tools
  • Maternity services should signpost women to other trusted sources of information and support
  • Trusts should work through Maternity Voices Partnerships and respond to women’s local information needs

Programmes Director, Maria Booker featured on PIF’s live webinar, in which she discussed informed decision making in practice and the use of the IDECIDE tool which is due to be piloted shortly. The recording of the event can be accessed here. Although the digital tool and the easily accessible nationally agreed, up-to-date, evidence-based information are currently in development, healthcare professionals and the women and birthing people they support are encouraged to use the IDECIDE framework below to structure conversations:  

Immediacy (how urgent is the situation?)

Details of the situation (what’s happening?)

Exchange of information (including personalised care and support plan)

Choices (options available and access to information, including BRAIN)

I confirm I understand (opportunity to ask questions)

Decision (and consent)

Evaluation (during the postnatal period)

Birthrights is grateful to PIF for leading this work and all the other organisations involved.

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