DISCUSS: Doctors told to persuade women to have natural births to save NHS money

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Family doctors are being asked to promote a purely natural birth as the best option for expectant mothers, but should the option of pain relief be a right or a privilege?

Labour pain relief
What would you do if your midwife suggested you had a completely natural birth without strong painkillers...just to save the NHS £200?

According to new guidelines, family doctors are being told to discuss the issues surrounding Caesareans and the use of strong painkillers and promote a natural birth to cut back on costs.

Critics have been quick to argue that every labour is different, and although some women can have natural births others require additional medical intervention.

The guidelines aren't completely tyrannical - C-sections and epidurals are thought to slow down a mother's recovery after labour and affect breastfeeding. Plus, the new guidelines don't dismiss more commonly used painkillers like gas and air.

The guidelines, created by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Royal College of Midwives and the National Childbirth Trust, state that the use of £1,200 C-sections and £200 epidurals should be reduced - potentially denying women the option of powerful pain relief.

Some senior doctors and campaigners have hit back at the new rules claiming that women have the right to benefit from the vast medical resources and pain relief options that are available in modern hospitals.

Deborah Morgan, of Perinatal Illness UK, a charity which supports women with post-natal depression, told the Daily Mail Online: 'The physical and mental health of women and the lives of babies are now being compartmentalised to fit a system. It is not really in their interests, and instead is all about saving money - bottom line. Under the guise of "choice", women are being covertly pushed into accepting a supposedly cheap option." 

Experts have removed the new guidelines from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website in order to discuss how they should be rewritten and clarified.

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