A wake-up call on children’s well-being: do more, do it now

It’s official – the Chief Medical Officer is ‘profoundly ashamed’. In her report on child health, Professor Dame Sally Davies highlights appalling inequalities in the UK, with three times as many child deaths in the poorest areas compared with wealthier regions, and shows us to be a nation lagging behind our European neighbours too. Much more needs to be done to improve the health of Britain’s children and it needs to be done sooner, she says. Early, preventive action rather than reaction will benefit both the health and the wealth of the nation. I thought I’d take a look at where Cochrane evidence might fit into her vision of what needs to be done. Continue reading

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Midwives and movement for a better birth experience

Key messages: 1. Midwife-led continuity models of care have benefits for mothers and babies and most women should be offered it. 2. Walking and upright positions in the first stages of labour shorten labour and have other benefits for women at low risk of complications.

I seem to have blogged a lot about pregnancy and childbirth recently but there are huge numbers of you out there for whom new evidence on those topics will be important and I really want to share it with you. Two reviews from the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group have just been updated and the addition of new studies has changed their conclusions. They focus on the implications for you and your baby of two very fundamental things – firstly, who is the main provider of care for the pregnant or labouring woman and secondly, positions and mobility during the first stage of labour.  Continue reading

No good evidence that antioxidants will help you get pregnant

It’s Monday morning and I have just the thing to wake you up. It’s a three word combo: antioxidants + subfertility + evidence. Yes I was interested too. We so often hear claims for health benefits of antioxidant supplements (cranberry capsules, green tea, bee spit and so on and so on) and there’s a huge market for them amongst women who are trying to get pregnant, particularly for the increasing number who are having difficulty conceiving, now thought to be around a quarter of couples. Many of the antioxidant supplements taken in the hope of improving fertility are unregulated and readily available to buy. But is there any evidence that antioxidants benefit woman trying to conceive and do we know if there are risks attached? Continue reading