The brutality of childbirth, with a footnote about post natal depression

// 4 March 2007

According to a report in the independent today, there has been a 21% rise in deaths of pregnant women in the care of NHS maternity services over a three year period. In addition to this, 17,000 women have suffered physical harm while in labour wards. I shan’t re-hash the entire story, because the reasons why it’s happened are (as in all NHS stories) not straightforward, and if you’re sufficiently interested, you can follow the link to the story. What I will say is that it ties in, at least partially, with recent stories about trainee midwives finishing university and being unable to find jobs whilst, at the same time, the NHS is crying out for more midwives. I’m very interested as to what M.D in Private Eye will make of it… if he/she writes anything interesting about it, I will summarise it on here.

Another thing: For anyone who may or may not have been watching the series ‘Lilies’ on BBC1 in recent weeks, can’t help but think that the depiction of May giving birth in the final episode should be shown to 13 year olds in schools as part of their sex education… even though we do, obviously, have painkillers and medical professionals on standby these days and it’s therefore all meant to be less traumatic and less dangerous… Oh, wait, that’s what the above story was all about…

In a yet more tenuously related story, there are even more Britney rumours circulating, this time suggesting she is suffering from post natal depression. Whatever you feel about the woman, I personally feel sickened by the way all of this has played out in such a public fashion, by which I mean people filming her on their mobile phones and putting it up online, flogging her hair online, as well as the inevitable paparazzi pictures etc. I realise it’s hypercritical in the extreme to state that and then blog about whether she is or isn’t suffering from post natal depression, but I think it’s time we all accepted our own culpability and encouragement of the celebrity obsessed society we live in.

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