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Wednesday November 25th, 2009

Post-natal care lacking - UK mums
New mothers in Britain are increasingly critical of the care they receive after birth, a survey revealed today.

Midwives, meeting for their annual conference in Manchester today, said the findings highlighted shortages of staff to assist mothers.

Some 3,500 women took part in an internet survey - with 43 per cent feeling they did not have access to a midwife after birth.

<img src="http://www.englemed.co.uk/graphics/roxanne_moore.jpg" align="right" title="Roxanne Moore and Gracie - ward atmosphere 'horrific'">
And more than a third - 35 per cent - said they had found themselves alone when they felt worried. However women showed more satisfaction with arrangements made before birth.

Mothers talked of how midwives in hospital seemed "harassed and frustrated" - with shift changes preventing continuity of care.

Mother Roxanne Moore, from south London, told how she was sent home from hospital after the birth of her daughter, Gracie, without getting support to establish breast-feeding.

By the time she saw a midwife five days later, the baby had lost weight and had to be readmitted to hospital.

She said: "When I was back in hospital, I found that the midwives were totally overstretched and over worked and did not have enough time to spend with me to help me establish breast-feeding. I felt totally overwhelmed, Gracie was distressed and again I did not receive the care that I needed.

"These are basic needs and I found it shocking that they could not be met on the post-natal ward."

She added: "After three days in hospital, I just wanted to go home, where at least my husband could support me and I could get some sleep, the atmosphere on the ward was horrific, mums and babies were crying and the midwives were also close to tears."

Cathy Warwick, general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, said: "With births having increased every year since 2001, it is a case of the tortoise racing against the hare, but the tortoise will not win this race until more is done. The rising birth-rate also means that services are struggling to develop and maintain the range of maternity services promised to women.

"If women and babies are to receive high quality care, it will require sustained investment and commitment to maternity services."

Sally Russell, of website Netmums.com, said: "This survey's results should demonstrate to the government just how stretched maternity services are.

"It shows that our members want, need and deserve one-to-one care from midwives, but they are not getting this and are left alone and feeling abandoned during labour, and especially in the vital postnatal period."

Tags: Allergies & Asthma | Child Health | Dermatology | North America

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