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.
One in three pregnancies are induced in Great Britain and new NICE guidelines on induction acknowledge that rates may continue to rise.
In August 2021, the Patient Information Forum (PIF) conducted an online survey into women’s experiences of being induced in collaboration with maternity charities including Tommy’s, Bliss and Birthrights.
In less than a fortnight, 2,325 women responded, providing more than 6,300 free text comments. The sobering results show that there is much to do to put personalised care and shared decision making into practice in maternity care.
Key findings include:
- Women ranked fear of induction as their second biggest birth concern, second only to the fear that something might happen to their baby,
- Two-fifths felt the information they were given about induction was not detailed enough,
- More than half only received verbal information,
- Two-thirds were not given enough detail on risks and benefits to make an informed decision,
- Two thirds of the survey respondents reported that they didn’t have supportive conversations with HCPs.
Sue Farrington, PIF Chair, commented “At a time when rates of induction are rising in the UK, many women are left feeling completely disempowered and unheard. The women who completed the survey were very clear about the need to have better quality, evidence-based, data-led information to help them have a supportive conversation. This is an issue which can and must be addressed immediately, so women can participate equally and make informed choices about their care.”
As a result of the survey, findings, PIF is making a series of recommendations to improve induction information including:
- 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.
Norgine provided partial funding to support the survey.
The full report, including comments from women, can be found online here,
Read more news from the Primary Care Women’s Health Forum here.