Dedicated mid-wife for expectant mums

In an effort to reduce the incidences of post natal depression, the NHS, has announced a new package to enhance pregnancy care, including a named midwife for every expectant mother.

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by Pragya Saini, Mindful Mum, 17th May 2012

The package comes in response to recent reports suggesting that many women are unhappy with the way they are treated during pregnancy, childbirth and the early stages of motherhood. A shortage of midwives coupled with a rising birth rate have put mothers and babies at risk, reports the Telegraph.

One on one care

So, what do the plans mean for pregnant women in the UK?

  • More midwives to be trained in order to provide a named midwife to every woman during pregnancy and early motherhood.
  • Enhanced training for health workers so they can spot the early signs of postnatal depression and
  • Choice for parents on where and how they give birth.

A survey released by Royal College of Midwives this week revealed that one in four new mothers were alone without a midwife during labour. Interestingly, around a quarter expressed their concern of midwives not having enough time to explain what happens during labour and also one in five women did not know their midwife very well or even at all.

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives told The Guardian that these pledges are “very good news” for both women and midwives: “These are positive plans from the government targeting areas of maternity care that are under-prioritised and under-resourced… The impact of a miscarriage or a stillbirth can be devastating for the woman and her family and postnatal depression can be a crippling and sometimes fatal illness. Early detection and treatment is crucial.”

Tackling postpartum mood disorder

It is thought that between 15-20% of all mothers suffer with a postpartum mood disorder such as OCD, anxiety or depression. There are many causes of these conditions, which fall along a spectrum in terms of severity from mild to life-threatening: It can be a hormonal trigger, a lack of concrete support, a history of depression or anxiety that is exacerbated by the strains of sleep deprivation or other challenges of early motherhood.

Mr Lansley also guaranteed more options for expectant parents about where and when they can give birth. Accordingly, fresh guidelines will be issued for health visitors and midwives focusing more on the “emotional wellbeing” of new mothers and referring those in need to further counseling or any other therapy.

It will be a litmus test for the NHS as well on how properly it takes care of parents who have had a miscarriage, still birth or cot death. Mr Lansley added, “No woman should have to cope with post-natal depression without help and support. The changes we are putting in place today will mean that the NHS is providing even more support to women who have this serious condition.”

If you need help or more information find out more from the Association for Post Natal Illness.

Photo: Fields of View Flickr

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