In order to be able to undertake analysis of the data on trends in normal births, it is important to ensure that there is a detailed account of the interventions for women and babies with or without known complications at labour onset. Although these may be available in the clinical notes, it needs to be accessible for analysis.
The first step for measurement is to ensure that clear definitions are used and that missing data is addressed. Then a routine data collection can be established as part of assessing trends and variation over time. When used in conjunction with quality improvement projects, this data can be used for plotting run charts.
Audit and measurement tools have been developed locally, at service or commissioning level. Here are two approaches that have been used at national level:
- Interventions in Normal Labour and Birth (UCLAN/RCM, 2016)
- Patterns of maternity care in English NHS trusts (RCOG, 2016)