§ Mr. Haynes
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what percentage of expectant mothers had after-effects following the use of pain-killing Drugs during labour;
(2) what guidance is given from his Department to the hospital service on the use of pain-killing Drugs when an expectant mother is in labour.
§ Dr. Vaughan
I am advised that the indications for pain-killing Drugs vary in each individual case depending on the physical and emotional needs of the mother; this was discussed in "Reducing the Risk". It is for the doctor434W or midwife attending each birth to decide whether painkilling Drugs are needed, the nature of the Drug, the timing and the dosage required, and it would not be appropriate for the Department to give guidance on clinical matters of this kind.
The percentage of mothers who experience adverse effects from these Drugs during labour is not known. I understand, however, that those adverse effects that do occur are usually transient and are not generally severe.