The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) published their annual State of Maternity Services report on Tuesday 22 January
Elizabeth Duff, NCT's Senior Policy Adviser said:
"NCT continues to support the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) in its call for more midwives in the UK workforce, with especial urgency in England and Wales.
"The State of Maternity Services report demonstrates that the 'baby boom' is still ongoing, and indeed on the increase in parts of England. This means not only that less time can be spent by midwives with women during antenatal and postnatal care, but some women in labour will lack midwifery attendance. Past maternity surveys have shown over 20% of women said they were left without a midwife, during labour, when this worried them. Anxiety and tension about being left alone means women cannot relax and focus on their labour: this in turn leads to more use of pain-relieving drugs and higher levels of intervention, which most women wish to avoid so that they are well and fit to start caring for their baby after the birth.
"The data showing older average ages of women giving birth reflects both fewer teenage parents and more women giving birth in their late 30s and early 40s. There is much to be positive about this news as it often means parents are better placed to welcome their baby to an economically stable family setting. But older mothers are likely to need more support to enable them to have the birth they want, and provide care for the baby themselves in the postnatal days. Midwives are the only health professionals who can offer this important continuity of care - but it is that continuity, so very much valued by new mothers, that is most likely to be lost as workforces remain dangerously over-stretched."