A new report has identified both the negatives and positives in the way mums-to-be are cared for in the UK
It’s one of the most important times in a woman’s life – but maternity care in the UK is ‘just not good enough’ according to the chief inspector of hospitals.
Professor Sir Mike Richards has criticised the NHS after the Care Quality Commission’s 2013 report on maternity services.
It highlighted specific issues women face during pregnancy and labour, including being given inconsistent information by their medical team and having different midwives along the way.
Almost one in five mums-to-be felt their concerns weren’t taken seriously, while the number left alone when they were worried, especially during early labour, has increased since the last report in 2010.
There were also issues raised about cleanliness in hospitals and postnatal facilities being below par.
However, the report also emphasised the improvements since 2010. More women felt like they were spoken to by medical staff in a way they understood (bye bye, birth jargon), treated with kindness and understanding, and also that they were involved in their own care throughout pregnancy and labour.
Women also reported higher levels of trust and confidence in their team
Women also reported higher levels of trust and confidence in their team, felt able to move around more and find a comfortable labour position, and could also have their birth partner involved in their birth as much as they wanted. New mums being asked how they felt emotionally was also an area improved on.
‘We welcome evidence of improvements in women's experience of maternity care since 2010, but there are worrying findings, too,’ says Cathy Warwick from the Royal College of Midwives.
‘It is sad to see that in three years the NHS has not improved in terms of women seeing the same midwife during their care, which often means women have to repeat their histories over and over again.’
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