Letter to The Guardian in response to their article, "Meghan Markle’s home birth should not blind us to the risks for most women"

Sent 9th May 2019

By email (guardian.readers@theguardian.com)

Dear Sir,

I write in response to the opinion piece by Barbara Ellen entitled “Meghan Markle’s home birth should not blind us to the risks for most women”, published online on the 13th April1. Not only was the piece desperately trying to jump on the 'Meghan Pregnancy Band-wagon' whilst pretending to maintain an aloof irony, but it repeated incorrect and dangerous myths about homebirth which undermine the safety of women and their babies. It therefore breaches the Guardian News & Media’s Editorial Code in the area of section 1, accuracy.

Rather than using evidence, research and an assumption that women are able to make responsible and careful decisions to best suit them and their family circumstances the author is perpetuating out of date myths to the disservice of pregnant women making informed decisions about best place of birth for them and their baby.

Specific areas of inaccuracy are:

1) The article states, “Meghan Markle’s home birth should not blind us to the risks for most women”. This implies that homebirth would be an unsafe option for most women which is not evidence based. In fact, evidence from the Birthplace Study 20112 tells us that many more women could safely choose to birth at home than currently do.

2) “Ordinary women are allocated one midwife” In fact, all UK hospital trusts allocate two midwives for a homebirth, and almost all are attended by two midwives.

Both the NHS3,4 and NICE5 support homebirth in the UK as a safe and sensible option for birth, and the safest option for healthy and second or subsequent pregnancies. Undermining these facts puts women and babies at risk of unnecessary harm. Your contributor would be advised at least to read these basic sources before showing off her own ignorance on this very important subject.

Yours faithfully,

Emma Ashworth

AIMS Trustee

References:

1) “Meghan Markle’s home birth should not blind us to the risks for most women” https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/13/meghan-markle-home-birth-should-not-blind-us-to-risks-for-most-women

2) Birthplace Study: https://www.npeu.ox.ac.uk/birthplace

3) NHS – “Where to give birth: The options”: www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/where-can-i-give-birth/#home-birth

4) Your Choice, Where to have your baby. Information for healthy, low risk women having their first baby:

assets.nhs.uk/prod/documents/NHSE-your-choice-where-to-have-baby-first-baby-sept2018.pdf

5) NICE – “Intrapartum care for healthy women and babies”: www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg190/chapter/Recommendations

Latest Content

Journal

« »

The CQC 2019 survey of women’s expe…

To read or download this Journal in a magazine format on ISSUU, please click here AIMS Journal, 2020, Vol 32, No 2 By Nadia Higson The Care Quality Commission (CQC) mater…

Read more

Incentives for Continuity of Carer…

To read or download this Journal in a magazine format on ISSUU, please click here AIMS Journal, 2020, Vol 32, No 2 By the AIMS Campaigns Team Trust Boards will now have a…

Read more

What has the AIMS Campaigns team be…

To read or download this Journal in a magazine format on ISSUU, please click here AIMS Journal, 2020, Vol 32, No 2 We reviewed the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) 2019 su…

Read more

Events

« »

AIMS 60th Anniversary Event - Confe…

POSTPONED FROM JUNE 2020 Making a difference past and future The purpose of the day is to celebrate what Birth Activists in general and AIMS in particular have achieved,…

Read more

ARM National Conference 2020: "How…

Chair: Professor Soo Downe, University of Central Lancashire Dr Gloria Esegbona, OBGYN and Winston Churchill Fellow 2015 Kings College Learning Institute Dr Gloria Esegbo…

Read more

NICE Annual Conference 2020

Registration for the NICE Annual Conference 2020 will open on 22 January 2020. For more details and to register your interest, please visit http://www.niceconference.org.…

Read more

Latest Campaigns

« »

AIMS' evidence to the Health and So…

AIMS' evidence to the Health and Social Care Select Committee On April 22, the UK Parliament's Health and Social Care Select Committee opened an inquiry ​into the plannin…

Read more

AIMS Comments on RCM Clinical Brief…

AIMS welcomes the recent publication of the RCM Clinical Briefing Sheet: ‘freebirth’ or ‘unassisted childbirth’ during the COVID-19 pandemic ( www.rcm.org.uk/media/3904/f…

Read more

Template Campaigning Letters about…

AIMS has had many enquiries about how to find out about, and seek to influence, local service changes during this period. Here we have included several examples of issues…

Read more