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Malta almost sees pregnancy as an illness – midwives’ association

Qualified Maltese midwives to undergo intensive training programme to reduce national rate of C-sections from 32.3% down to 15% as part of normalising childbirth project.

Bianca Caruana
26 September 2012, 12:00am
Minister Chris Said praises the work being done by Malta Midwives Association to reduce national C-Section rates
Minister Chris Said praises the work being done by Malta Midwives Association to reduce national C-Section rates
The Malta Midwives Association said that the high rate of interventions during pregnancy in Malta is high for a number of reasons and is not simply due to complications.

“Pregnancy in Malta is almost being seen as an illness. The rate of normal childbirth has slowly decreased since 1996 from 83% to 67.7% in 2011 as more mothers choose or are advised to undergo a caesarean,” MMA President Mary Buttigieg Said said.

Why has the rate increased so drastically?

Buttigieg said it is the result of a number of reasons but it seems Maltese mothers are opting out of natural childbirth out of fear or as advised by their private obstetrician.

“Midwives need to be educated but also empowered. Midwives in other countries have more say in what happens to a mother and watch should be done. Midwives are fundamental to the services and we are the experts in normality. Doctors are experts in interventions. Normal births should be the midwife’s job,” Buttigieg Said said.  

Justice Minister Chris Said praised the assistance given by MEUSAC to the MMA to apply for the EU funds while also praising the MMA and midwives for tackling the problem of high rates of CS.

“It is an important area. How can we continue to improve and reach a rate of 85% normal childbirths? This intensive training programme will hopefully help us start tackling the issue as more midwives become educated and trained in normalising childbirth,” Said said.

In an attempt to increase education regarding the benefits of ‘normal childbirth’ and decrease the high rate of interventions during pregnancy, the MMA together with the University of West England will collaborating on a fully EU financed project to improve current midwifery practice and skills.

The ‘Normalising childbirth training module’ will involve 26 fully qualified midwives attending an intensive training programme as part of the sixth phase of the ‘Normalising Childbirth Project’.

“Caesarean Section has an important role in ensuring safe maternity care but are we sure that every Caesarean section is appropriate, effective and efficient?” Buttigieg Said asked.  

While the national average CS rate has doubled in just a few years, it has not been accompanied by a measurable improvement in the outcome of the baby.

The WHO and NICE guidelines state that there is no justification for any region to have CS rates higher than 10% to 15%.

“We want to bring the rate of CS down in Malta from 32.3% as recorded in 2011, to at least 15%. In 1996, we were just 2% shy of the guidelines. If we reduce the rate of CS, we will also save money and increase job satisfaction for our midwives,” Buttigieg Said said.

Through this project midwives will experience evidence-based practice and learn practices and skills that focus on maintaining safe outcomes for mother and baby with minimal intervention rates in line with the W.H.O recommendations and NICE Guideline.

The project will improve midwifery practice as it empowers midwives to build confidence in normalising childbirth, be an assertive advocate for the mother and baby in a highly medicalised unit with a caesarean section rate which exceeds double the rate indicated by WHO. Midwives will also be exposed to other midwives and lecturers who are promoting safe birth without being engulfed in medicalisation.

Head of MEUSAC Vanni Xuereb stated that MEUSAC highly encourages the Lifelong Learning Programme with those organisations that have never tapped into EU funding programmes and organisations who are seeking to empower their members.

An application under the Lifelong Learning Programme- Leonardo da Vinci (VETPRO) is not as intensive and because the finances relating to training activities focussed on vocational education and training taking place in any member state of the EU can be 100% financed through this funding programme.

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Being overweight has a very high correlation with having a C-section. If the weight of the mother is not controlled before and during pregnancy, the chances seem to be that she will have a C-section, plus a long and painful recovery time after (fat doesn't heal easily...) Doctors - I stand to be corrected...
avatar
Being overweight has a very high correlation with having a C-section. If the weight of the mother is not controlled before and during pregnancy, the chances seem to be that she will have a C-section, plus a long and painful recovery time after (fat doesn't heal easily...) Doctors - I stand to be corrected...
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