Friday, 15 June 2007

Time out

Will not be able to write a blog for little while as I am going on holiday for a few weeks. But before I go, I must pass comment on two issues that have been in the Guardian recently.

One- A report has suggested that maternity care may be put at risk by allowing Health Care Assistants to carry out midwifery functions. This is totally untrue. Health Care Assistants do just that – they assist and very good at it they are as well. They are taught how to help women with breast feeding, bathing and generally care for the baby. On the delivery suite, they help with all manner of things from helping in theatre, washing women, making the much maligned cup of tea, cleaning and stocking up the ward. Would you like a midwife to do all these things whilst you were left unattended in labour? I think not. No, the report was not strictly true. Health care assistants are a very valued part of the team and in no way will they ever be able to carry out midwifery functions, unless of course, they undertake a period of nurse midwife education and quality!!

Two – Zoe Williams writes a very compelling article on why she will not be giving up alcohol or soft cheese whilst she is pregnant. After my initial indignation at what I assumed was going to be a very irresponsible argument, I found myself agreeing with some of her arguments. Especially the fact that she felt all advice was given in a very condescending manner without any reference to research or evidence based reasons for avoiding soft cheese, wine, liver, cats etc.

However, I would remind pregnant women that their immunity is suppressed whilst pregnant leaving them much more susceptible to infections and disease so it is best to limit these risks by avoiding any factor that will render them ill. Such as eating soft cheese, unwashed salad, bought sandwiches, handling cat litter – all these increase the risk of stomach infections, listeria (a flu like illness which has devastating consequences) and toxoplasmosis which if passed on to the fetus can cause a stillbirth. Alcohol in any great quantity is equally as lethal not only in terms of fetal development but makes the pregnant woman more susceptible to accidents and prone to viral infections.

Pregnancy is only a short time in the grand scheme of things – surely it is worth a few sacrifices to ensure the good health not only of oneself but the unborn baby as well.


Anonymous said...

In some units the MCA/HCA is taking on much of what i would call the role of the Midwife. Doing home visits postnatally, running clinics, etc and i do feel this is inappropriate. One local unit actually has MCA's as the principal assistant in theatre rather than having a second doctor out of hours. They say they are trained for the job, i heavily disagree. You can be trained to hold this in the right spot, but that does not make you trained for surgery. very scary!

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