Letter: A natural birth is safer

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The ventouse cap, as you rightly say, "is used if labour is difficult and lengthy, the mother is exhausted or the baby is in distress" ("Baby deaths linked to suction delivery", 13 July). Unfortunately, like so many medical interventions, it is frequently used instead of safer techniques, mainly because technical intervention is preferred to simpler methods. In countries like the US which have a high incidence of obstetrical intervention and medication, complications, deaths and trauma are much more common than in countries like the Netherlands, where about half of all births are midwife-managed home deliveries.

As for actively reducing the length of labour, a controlled French study conducted a few years ago showed that use of a combination of homeopathic medicines made a significant difference. Those given the homeopathic medicines had labours of, on average, 5.1 hours, while those taking placebo ran to 8.5 hours. More significantly, 11.3 per cent of those on the homeopathic medicines had abnormal labours while 40 per cent of the placebo group had problems.

The question is not: "why are we using the ventouse cap?" so much as: "why aren't we using other methods?" If the answer is "medical prejudice" it's time the Government stepped in on behalf of those mothers and children who stand to suffer as a result.

Denis MacEoin

Natural Medicines Society

Newcastle upon Tyne