Induction of labour for advancing maternal age

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It may be inevitable that personal experience colours my view of issues such as intervention in childbearing. Such reliance on experience may not be a bad thing, as long as everybody recognises that experiential sources of opinions are just that. With this proviso in mind I have to declare an interest in the Scientific Impact Paper, published earlier this year by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), relating to the recommendation that ‘older mothers’ should have elective induction of labour for the sake of the fetus (Dhanjal & Kenyon 2013). My mother was aged 36 when I was born and I consider that I benefited immeasurably from the experience and wisdom she accumulated while she was waiting for me to put in an appearance. My admiration for childbearing women'of a certain age'further mushroomed when, as a neophyte midwife, I was caring for a first time mother aged 45. Shona (not her real name) had been admitted at 38 weeks for 'rest', with a view to induction of labour for no specific reason apart from her age. She walked along to the duty room one afternoon saying that she thought she was in labour because the contractions were coming every two minutes. Barely an hour later, she had given birth to Fiona with minimal intervention. When I saw Shona and Fiona a couple of months later their delight in each other was clear; not least from their accomplished breastfeeding, which was unusual at that time.

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