These are the words midwives have been banned from using in the birthing room

Publish Date
Monday, 12 February 2018, 7:30AM

An "alternative" language guide has been created for midwives to use in the hope of instilling a "culture of respect" for pregnant women.

Three experts devised the list of suggested phrases for common terms, in the hope it will ensure women are 'empowered to make decisions'.

Medics have been asked to say, "you're doing really well", to women pushing a baby out - instead of the old-fashioned term, "good girl".

It also stresses that midwives and obstetricians should never address the pregnant woman as a "she" when they are discussing the situation at hand, reports Daily Mail.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has announced it will "abide by these principles" in its own guidelines issued to its members.

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The authors accepted that some may think the new recommendations, which are only a suggestion and aren't from the NHS, are 'political correctness gone mad'.

Instead, they should constantly refer to her first name, according to the guide that was published in the British Medical Journal.

And the authors pointed to evidence that shows positive communication can alter the course of pregnancy for the better.

Reviews of research reveal that clear language can reduce the rates of potentially dangerous Caesarean sections, the medics explained.

Professor Andrew Weeks, who works at the International Maternal Health Care at the University of Liverpool, was one of the three authors of the guide.

The others included Natalie Mobbs, a medical student at Liverpool, and Catherine Williams, a committee member of National Maternity Voices.

Writing in the BMJ, they said: "Language matters as a way of respecting women's views and ensuring that they are empowered to make decisions.

"The use of insensitive language can be indicative of an underlying malaise, which reveals underlying attitudes and prejudices.

"It is essential that we achieve respectful practice, ensuring that women have complete understanding and control of their own care."

The three authors continued: "If we can achieve that, then the use of appropriate language will follow on naturally."

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"Good communication during the birthing process is critical to good maternity care, but achieving a shift in deeply ingrained language, and the thinking it reflects, is difficult.

"There is a fine line between changing terminology to integrate language which is more respectful, inclusive, and less intimidating for the mother, and substituting vague, verbose language which hinders the original message."

The guide also asks midwives to avoid discouraging or insensitive language, such as the phrase "terminate pregnancy".

Should this distressing situation arise, women should be told it is a "compassionate induction" to ease their feelings.

And if a medical procedure doesn't work, midwives should describe the attempt as "unsuccessful", rather than "failed".

In another move, it asked for coded language, frequently used by medics to describe certain situations, to be replaced in plain English.

This includes scraping the medical term SROM, and telling the women her waters have broken in much simpler language.

Anxiety-provoking phrases have also been slashed in the guide, asking medics to avoid the use of "fetal distress" or "big baby".

Instead, they should announce the two common problems as "changes in the baby's heart rate pattern" and describe a larger infant as "healthy".


This article was first published on Daily Mail and is republished here with permission.