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Health ministry team proposes registry for clinics offering painless child deliveries

A newborn baby is seen in this file photo taken at Yamato Municipal Hospital in Kanagawa Prefecture on March 25, 2009. (Mainichi)

A health ministry research team on Feb. 12 reached a broad agreement on a proposal to request institutions performing painless child deliveries to register with the ministry, after a series of accidents involving the childbirth method were reported.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare team headed by Kitasato University Hospital director Nobuya Unno also agreed that information on painless deliveries, such as the number of procedures performed annually at each institution, should be disclosed.

The team is set to request medical institutions to take appropriate measures according to the proposal, while calling on the government to consider ways to collect and analyze information on mishaps involving painless childbirth cases.

The proposal calls for a registry system for institutions that perform no-pain deliveries and the making of a list of such medical facilities. Each institution is encouraged to disclose information including the overall number of deliveries and painless childbirth procedures, as well as how anesthesia is administered and the doctor's training in anesthesiology. A working group comprising related medical societies will work on the concrete structure of the system.

The ministry team furthermore stated that it would be desirable to have anesthetists or ob-gyn doctors who have training experience in anesthesiology administer anesthetics for painless deliveries. The team also stated that it would be preferable if these doctors had experience of about 100 cases of administering epidural anesthetics, the method used in painless childbirths. The proposal added that each institution should have a system under which the staff can tend the mother for at least half an hour after anesthetics are administered in case of a sudden change in her condition, and also check on the mother regularly after the initial 30 minutes.

In addition, the team presented examples of requirements for facilities operating painless deliveries, including the preparation of operating manuals and the presence of midwives and nurses versed in caring for women in painless deliveries. The team also requested that medical institutions gain written consent after informing the mother of cases of complications accompanying painless deliveries.

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