When it comes to having babies, midwifery-led care is just as safe as consultant-led care and actually uses less medical interventions, such as the administration of drugs to speed up labour, a major new study has found.

The study was carried out by Trinity College's School of Nursing and Midwifery and involved over 1,600 women who gave birth in the Dublin and north east region between 2004 and 2007.

The researchers compared consultant-led maternity care with the-then new model of care provided by midwives in the midwifery-led units (MLUs) at Cavan General Hospital and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda. These represented the first units of their type in Ireland.

With this model of care, midwives provide care to women throughout their pregnancy. This care can be shared with the woman's GP if she wishes. When the woman goes into labour, she is admitted to a private room in the MLU, a separate unit within the maternity hospital, where she stays for the entire labour, birth and postnatal period.

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