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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 October 2005, 05:39 GMT 06:39 UK
Campaign to boost natural births
Preparing a mother for Caesarean section
Just over half of mothers in Bromley had natural births last year
A campaign promoting natural childbirth is being launched by Bromley Hospitals NHS Trust in south-east London.

It comes amid growing concern over the rising number of mothers having Caesarean sections.

Midwives will be trained in water births, an aromatherapy service will be introduced and hospital birthing environments will be improved.

The aim is to reduce the number of births by Caesarean section and ease women's natural birthing experience.

Nationally, 65% of women give birth naturally, whereas in Bromley the figure was just 55.5% in 2004, according to Department of Health figures.

'First choice'

In contrast, 3% of Bromley mothers opted for home births in 2005, compared with a national rate of 1-2%.

Sarah Gregson, practice development midwife at the trust, said: "The normal birth campaign at the Trust aims to support the normalisation of childbirth for women who have straightforward pregnancies and to provide a more pleasant environment for all women giving birth in Bromley."

"We are currently in the process of training our staff in aromatherapy and water births as well as actively educating staff and healthcare professionals on the benefits of normal birth."

The Royal College of Midwifery, which runs a UK-wide campaign to promote natural childbirth, says despite the challenges, good birth experiences can happen and intervention and Caesarean should be the last choice, not the first.

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