Home Health & Wellness Birth Trauma Report Highlights “Under-Funded, Under-Resourced” Maternity Care

Birth Trauma Report Highlights “Under-Funded, Under-Resourced” Maternity Care

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A report published today has called for the UK’s maternity and postnatal care to be overhauled, citing a worrying number of traumatic childbirths.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Birth Trauma was set up by Theo Clarke, a Conservative MP, following the difficult birth of her daughter. The report makes 12 recommendations, including the creation of a new maternity commissioner who would report directly to the Prime Minister.

University of Bradford midwifery lecturer and assistant professor Benash Nazmeen, who spent 10 years working on hospital labour wards before moving into higher education, gives her view on the report.

“Birth trauma is any physical or emotional distress you may experience during or after childbirth that impacts a person’s mental health, from anxiety to depression to post-traumatic stress disorder. Often, the people affected by this feel alone and try to self-manage this, due to distrust of healthcare professionals or services.

“Birth trauma doesn’t just affect individuals but families, and many people have this but do not realise it.

“What the report has highlighted is that healthcare professionals need more training to address issues before they arise, additional checks at the six-week appointment with the GP, improvement in postnatal services and the need to focus on the long-term implications of unaddressed health trauma.

“Maternity and postnatal provision within the NHS is suffering from understaffing. It is underfunded and underresourced, and healthcare professionals are in survival mode. We need more staff, more investment in training, and more resources to tackle this issue.

“As part of our midwifery programme, the University of Bradford offers postgraduate modules in trauma-informed care and perinatal mental health, and we cover these topics in our undergraduate curricula too. 

“It’s important we have reports like this because it brings oversight and acknowledges that these issues need addressing, and as healthcare professionals, we cannot address them without investment and local services prioritising them; this report makes it a priority.”

The report is a crucial step towards recognising and addressing the profound impact of birth trauma on new mothers and their families. With the backing of experienced professionals and the proposal for a new maternity commissioner, it sets the foundation for significant improvements in the NHS’s approach to maternity and postnatal care.

The recommendations offer a roadmap for much-needed reform, aiming to ensure that no mother feels isolated in her experience and that all have access to the support and care they deserve. Moving forward, it is imperative that these recommendations are implemented swiftly and effectively, with adequate funding and resources to truly make a difference in the lives of families across the UK.

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