Concern is rising about the care that pregnant women receive from their midwives. A new survey of over 1,800 women has shown that, as a result of staff shortages, one in five women who were in labour did not have a midwife with them for parts of the process.
The research also found that almost half of the women questioned would have preferred to have had more time allocated to them with a midwife during their whole pregnancy, not just during the process of giving birth itself. One third also reported that after their baby was born they still felt unsupported, despite the promises of government ministers that such support would increase, in particular for women suffering from postnatal depression.
The survey was commissioned by the Bounty Parenting Club and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM). All of those who were interviewed had recently given birth or were still pregnant. One in three of them reported that, for each checkup they attended, they were seen by a different midwife every time. The Royal College of Midwives wanted to draw attention to this predicament in order to back their calls for more midwives to be trained and have their positions funded. The investment they require would help to ensure that the problems which the survey have shown up could be successfully overcome.
Having one named midwife for each patient, women in labour having a midwife with them at all times and midwifery led units being available for all women with healthy and straightforward pregnancies is, they state, what the government’s own policies recommend. However, the RCM are concerned that without more investment in midwifery provision, the pledges and goals are impossible to meet and women are being let down at a potentially very vulnerable time.