Released on: 10 February 2022

Responding to the findings of the Care Quality Commission’s 2021 maternity survey, Senior Policy Adviser at NCT, Elizabeth Duff said:

“Although there are some positives to draw from the findings, postnatal care and support still remains an area of great concern.

"The proportion of women who said they saw or spoke to a midwife as much as they wanted during the postnatal period has declined each year to 61% in 2021. This is an exceptionally vulnerable time for mothers and babies, so this lack of access to help risked real danger to both at a time when support from family and friends was more restricted too due to lockdowns.

"It’s also extremely worrying that only half of women who needed it in the first six weeks after giving birth said that they ‘definitely’ received help and advice from a midwife or health visitor about feeding their baby at such a crucial time. 

“Only 34% of mothers said that during their stay in hospital their birth partners or family members were able to stay with them as much as they wanted. The impact of the removal of this support and advocacy can be immense. We have heard reports of women experiencing extreme anxiety, fear and isolation as a result of this. NHS guidelines have made clear that the woman’s partner is not a visitor but a member of the care team and should not be excluded. 

“While women felt they were generally communicated with well during antenatal appointments, only half felt they’d been given adequate information about induction. Essentially this means that women are perceived as consenting to what can be a painful and invasive procedure without the full information they need.”

You can read the maternity survey in full here.

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