Dutch gynaecologists want specialised natal care

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In a TV documentary, Dutch gynaecologists blame high number of infant fatalities on home births and late intervention practices.

The Netherlands – Dutch gynaecologists say births should only take place in specialised hospitals as intervention comes too late in a television documentary that was screened on Sunday evening.

On current affairs TV programme Zembla, the gynecologists blame the relatively high number of infant fatalities in the Netherlands partly on the practice of home births and say midwives are reluctant to intervene when women in labour get into difficulty.

The claim is vehemently disputed by midwives who said women in labour are rushed to hospital as soon as complications arise.

Around 30 percent of all babies are delivered at home by midwives.

de Volkskrant reported that several gynaecologists have called for the establishment of 40 specialised hospitals throughout the country. These hospitals should provide specialist pre and post natal care where a gynecologist and an anaesthetist should be on duty at all time.

Dr Paul Reuwer said the Netherlands needs specialised birthing centres with gynaecologists on duty day and night in order to improve infant mortality.

Currently, there are 100 hospitals in the Netherlands where women can give birth. However, gynecologists and anaethetists are only present during office hours which mean valuable time is lost when they have to be called up.

The gynaecologists also said that the lack of gynaecologists, surgeons and personnel capable of performing a caesarean section contribute to infant deaths, "by the time a specialist has been drummed up, much valuable time has been lost valuable".

The number of babies in the Netherlands that die just before or just after birth is relatively high compared to other Western countries. A steering group is due to give its recommendations at the end of the year to reduce the infant mortality figures.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

3 Comments To This Article

  • LJK posted:

    on 23rd November 2009, 12:04:56 - Reply

    This is total BS! Proof that you can say anything even if it isn't true.

    Just from my OWN experiences I can tell you that 9-5 business isn't true. I HAD to have both my kids in hospital because I had to be induced. I was ok with that. For both children I opted for epidural and both happened very late or early in the morning. We pulled a dr out of his bed at 1am to come give me an epidural and not once was I made to feel ike a burden!

    I feel for the midwives here. They are incredible people who sacrifice so much to care for mothers and babies. If I were able to not go overdue, I would try for a home birth without drugs. That's my goal should I have a 3rd.

    This is NOT America and I'd hate to see home births ended here all because of a bogus claim like this article. If it's all true, show me the studies, the numbers, THE FACTS! No, this is all heresay.

    Here are the facts for those who are curious:

    The most obvious reasons for the high rate of baby deaths in the Netherlands: Dutch mothers are older than in many other countries, many are undergoing fertility treatment, there are more multiple births and perhaps more pregnancies in ethnic minority communities where economic and educational circumstances could play a role. All these factors mean the chance of complications or death during or immediately after birth are high.

    But it's not the traditional Dutch home birth system that accounts for the high perinatal fatalities, according to a not yet published report commissioned by the country's health department. The number of babies that die during home births is not higher than the fatalities that occur during hospital births.

    Love this one:

    “We all eat food everyday,” says Susan Hodges, president of Citizens for Midwifery, who steadfastly refers to birth as a normal, every day bodily function. “Every once in awhile, someone chokes on the food…but we don’t say that you can’t eat a meal unless you’ve got a trained doctor sitting next to you in case you choke.”

    Not every birth needs to be treated like a DISEASE. Your home is in most cases, the safest place to give birth. Why would you WANT to give birth in a place where people are sick and could make your newborn baby sick? Who enjoys having their babies taken away from them for tests and other nonsense? I was so lucky that my MIDWIFE took the time to make sure that the people who took care of us in the hospital knew my previous history with the traumatic HOSPITAL birth of my first child and made it a healing experience for the 2nd child. I had to make it clear that no one would take my baby from me or else I'm sure they would have.

    If you are pregnant in NL and reading this, be clear in your demands. You may think the only result is a healthy baby, but the birth experience matters too. YOU matter too! Make sure you've done what you can do ensure it's as awesome as it can be!

  • osita posted:

    on 23rd November 2009, 11:25:22 - Reply

    Talk about the pot calling the kettle black; the gynacologists can hardly complain about midwives when they themselves only work 9 - 5! Considering that most babies are born outside those hours, it would still be a case of waiting for an on-call gynacologist to arrive in an emergency, even if the mother was in hospital for the whole labour. How would this help make the birth process safer?

    I think these 'doctors' should be cleaning their own doorstep, before pointing at those of the neighbours. It's always everybody elses fault...
  • ratkat posted:

    on 23rd November 2009, 11:00:45 - Reply

    I saw this documentary and found it very disturbing. The midwives disputing the claim is disgusting, but totally in line with the dismissive and stupid attitude shown time and again by the Dutch medical community.