Survey: Shortage of Midwives Leaves New Mums Unsupported

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11th November 2013 15:53 - Health

New research carried out by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and Netmums has found that almost half of new mums claim they are not given enough advice on how to recognise if their baby has a lift-threating illness once they have left hospital. Three tenths (30.8%) said they felt unsupported and were asked to go home when they didn’t feel they were ready to leave.  

Findings also revealed that three fifths (60%) of new mums have felt depressed after giving birth, with a further two fifths (40%) saying a lack of information about breastfeeding was available.

The research suggests that these concerns are also echoed by midwives with over half (58%) admitting they would like to do more when delivering postnatal care. Yet only two fifths (40%) said they had enough time and resources to support and inform new mums about emotional wellbeing. 

Cathy Warwick, Chief Executive of the RCM, said:

These surveys confirm some of my fears about the level and quality of postnatal care that midwives are able to provide and that women are receiving. Whilst I recognise that the Government are working hard to increase midwife numbers, the serious shortage that currently exists is having an impact and it is affecting the quality of care for women."

Responding to the findings published, the Department of Health has said they are doing everything possible to make sure women get the maternity support they need. They claim they have increased the number of health visitors and family nurses. Last year the Department of Health announced a £25m fund to pay for improvements to over 100 maternity wards and birthing units which also included nine new midwifery-led units.

A Spokesman for the Department of Health added:

“The work we are doing is making a big difference to the experience that mums and families have of NHS maternity services, with more choice and a better environment where women can give birth."

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