NCT response: Netmums and RCM survey 'Alone and lost in labour'

Released on: 20 July 2011

‘Alone & lost in Labour’ - a UK survey of 3,508 mothers’ experiences of maternity services by and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has revealed a critical shortage of midwives providing continuous one-to-one care for women during labour, and immediately after, resulting in many mothers being left alone:-

-nearly a third of women, 30%, were not offered NHS-provided antenatal classes
-during labour, or shortly after giving birth, more than a third of mothers, 35%, reported  they had been left alone when they felt worried
-half of mothers, 43%, felt that after giving birth and on a postnatal ward they did not have access to a midwife
-almost a quarter of mothers surveyed, 24%, said they did not receive enough visits from a community midwife at home to help them to establish breastfeeding
-only half, 50%, of mothers were breastfeeding their baby at six weeks, and more than a third of mothers were bottle-feeding
-more than a quarter, 28%, rated the maternity care that they received as “neutral,” “poor” or “very poor,” but 29% described their care as “excellent.”  

Belinda Phipps, Chief Executive, NCT - National Childbirth Trust, said;
“This survey is the latest in a long line of surveys that show how overstretched maternity services are taking their toll on mothers. All too often we hear of women being left alone and feeling abandoned during and after labour, and this just isn’t acceptable. We know that the Government has the right policies in place but is failing to deliver them on the ground and it’s costing women dearly. If women and babies are to receive high quality care as soon as possible, it will require sustained investment and commitment to maternity services.
“Provision of one-to-one care from a midwife the woman has got to know is crucial in enabling her to feel confident and supported. The NCT wants all women to have a qualified midwife with them throughout - from the moment a woman feels the need for support until after the birth is complete and she has fed her baby for the first time. NCT also believes that maternity services should prepare parents for birth and for life with a new baby through antenatal education.”