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Induction of labour during the COVID-19 pandemic: a national survey of impact on practice in the UK

Harkness, M., Yuill, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-3918-5917, Cheyne, H., Stock, S. J., McCourt, C. ORCID: 0000-0003-4765-5795 and CHOICE Study Consortia, (2021). Induction of labour during the COVID-19 pandemic: a national survey of impact on practice in the UK. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth, 21(1), 310.. doi: 10.1186/s12884-021-03781-x

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Induction of labour (IOL) is one of the most commonly performed interventions in maternity care, with outpatient cervical ripening increasingly offered as an option for women undergoing IOL. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the context of practice and the option of returning home for cervical ripening may now assume greater significance. This work aimed to examine whether and how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed practice around IOL in the UK.

METHOD: We used an online questionnaire to survey senior obstetricians and midwives at all 156 UK NHS Trusts and Boards that currently offer maternity services. Responses were analysed to produce descriptive statistics, with free text responses analysed using a conventional content analysis approach.

FINDINGS: Responses were received from 92 of 156 UK Trusts and Boards, a 59% response rate. Many Trusts and Boards reported no change to their IOL practice, however 23% reported change in methods used for cervical ripening; 28% a change in criteria for home cervical ripening; 28% stated that more women were returning home during cervical ripening; and 24% noted changes to women's response to recommendations for IOL. Much of the change was reported as happening in response to attempts to minimise hospital attendance and restrictions on birth partners accompanying women.

CONCLUSIONS: The pandemic has changed practice around induction of labour, although this varied significantly between NHS Trusts and Boards. There is a lack of formal evidence to support decision-making around outpatient cervical ripening: the basis on which changes were implemented and what evidence was used to inform decisions is not clear.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s). 2021 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0
Publisher Keywords: Induction of labour, Cervical ripening, COVID-19, Choice
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Q Science > QR Microbiology > QR355 Virology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Departments: School of Health Sciences > Midwifery & Radiography
Date Deposited: 07 May 2021 10:56
URI: https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/26086
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