Monday, January 21, 2008

Dutch neonatal mortality rate rising

According to Dutch
... [H]ome births, which used to be considered normal in the Netherlands, now only account for around 10% of births in major cities such as Rotterdam and Utrecht, say Visser and Steegers.

Half of the women who want to give birth at home end up needing hospital treatment, they say. And while an emergency can arise at any time, gynaecology departments are not geared to cope with this and only have assistants on duty at nights and weekends.

'The unique Dutch system of midwifery is under pressure. Baby mortality rates are no longer among the lowest in Europe and have not been for some time. Maternal deaths have risen in the last 20 years and in half of these cases there is talk of sub-standard care,' say Visser and Steegers.

The researchers conclude that the midwifery sector in the Netherlands needs to be restructured to give more emphasis on postnatal care and round-the-clock availability of gynaecologists in hospitals.

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