Having a birth in Spain

Graphic: C-sections in Spain

Birth procedures in Spain and also in Barcelona are generally much medicalised. Recent data show that the percentage of c-sections performed in public hospitals is 22% and 34% in private clinics. It is therefore quite high.

Furthermore, episiotomy (incision in the perineum) is a much generalised practice, being performed in 85% of vaginal births. In contrast, WHO guidelines recommend a percentage of around 10-20%.

In some countries these percentages are even lower. For example, in Sweden the percentage of episiotomies is 6%, in the Netherlands, 8% and 13% in the UK.

Source: MONITORING SYSTEM CATALAN HEALTH. Results Centre. Fourth report. Hospital in July 2012. P. 66 Government of Catalonia. Department of Health. .

On the other hand, a new trend seems to be emerging in Spain that would signal a change in birth procedures.One of the first steps has been taken by the Spanish Health Ministry (Ministerio de Sanidad) who published the «Guía para el parto normal» (Guide to a normal birth) in November 2010. The guide recommends having an intimate environment as well as a birth partner the mother can rely on and the same midwife during the whole process.

The guide states that throughout the dilation period mothers should enjoy freedom of movements as needed be allowed to drink and be asked to have fetal heart rate checked only intermittently

Source2: Ministry of Health, 2011 data

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