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COVID-19 Wider Impacts – Induction of Labour Edit

Care for women around the time they are giving birth is an essential, time critical service that cannot be deferred. As such, it has been provided throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and maternity staff have not been redeployed to support other services. The way that some elements of this care are provided has changed in response to COVID-19 however, to minimise the risk of infection and to allow services to continue to provide safe care during times when a high number of staff may be off work, for example due to needing to isolate.

Guidance issued by the Scottish Government and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to maternity services at the height of the first wave of the pandemic noted that:

• It may be necessary for services to temporarily suspend the option for women to deliver at home or in midwife led units, and to concentrate delivery care within obstetric units

• Additional restrictions on the use of water births were recommended

• Care pathways for women requiring induction of labour should be amended to ensure the early stages of the induction process were delivered on an outpatient basis wherever possible

• Services should consider deferring a planned induction of labour or elective caesarean section if a woman was isolating due to having COVID-19, or having been in contact with a case, if it was safe to do so

• Services should support low risk women in the early latent phase of labour to remain at home wherever possible

• In general, strict restrictions on visitors for patients in hospital were advised, however women giving birth could still be accompanied by their chosen birth partner

'Induction of labour' is when a woman is given a medical intervention to start her labour rather than waiting for labour to start spontaneously. It is offered because there are medical reasons meaning it is considered safer (for the mother or baby) for the baby to be born, or because a woman is past her ‘due date’. There are different approaches to inducing labour, for example using medicines, a medical ‘balloon’ device that sits at the neck of the womb, and/or breaking the woman’s waters.

This dataset shows information on induction of labour, presented at Scotland and NHS Board level. Scotland level data is also available by age group and deprivation category. The information on induction of labour presented in this dataset is taken from hospital discharge records, specifically records relating to the care of women delivering a singleton live birth (i.e. one baby, not twins or more) at 37-42 weeks gestation (i.e. up to 3 weeks before or after their due date).

This data is also available on the COVID-19 Wider Impact Dashboard. Additional data sources relating to this topic area are provided in the Links section of the Metadata below. Further information based on SMR02 data is also available from the annual Births in Scottish Hospitals report. Information on COVID-19, including stay at home advice for people who are self-isolating and their households, can be found on NHS Inform.

All publications and supporting material to this topic area can be found in the weekly COVID-19 Statistical Report. The date of the next release can be found on our list of forthcoming publications.


Additional Info

License UK Open Government Licence
Category Health and Social Care
Maintainer Public Health Scotland
Date Created 2021-03-16
Date Updated 2022-03-02
Original dataset link


Additional Info

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