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‘Cinderella’ postnatal care leaves women ‘forgotten’ after birth

Women and NHS staff have warned that mothers are being “forgotten” after giving birth, with a staff crisis only making matters worse.

Kate, a 32-year-old from Leeds, says she has been left in “excruciating” pain for nine years after horrifying postnatal care.

Other women have told The Independent stories of care ranging from “disjointed” to “disastrous”.

It comes as midwives warn there are “horrendous” shortages in community services, which have prevented women from accessing adequate antenatal and postnatal care.

Mary Ross-Davie, the Royal College of Midwives’ director for professional midwifery, said that with each Covid wave midwifery staffing has been hit worse than the last.

To provide safe care during labour, antenatal and postnatal care, teams are sent into wards putting “huge pressure on care”.

She said this could mean clinicians end up “missing things”, such as women struggling emotionally after birth.

The warnings over poor antenatal and postnatal care come after experts at the University of Oxford said in November there were “stark” gaps in postnatal care, despite the highest number of deaths being recorded in the postnatal period.

Dr Sunita Sharma, lead consultant for postnatal care at Chelsea and Westminster Trust, said that when NHS maternity inpatient staffing overall is in crisis “often the first place staff are moved from is the postnatal ward, which is clinically very appropriate, but it can come at a cost of putting more pressure on postnatal care for other mothers”.

Dr Sharma said postnatal teams were doing their best to improve services but need national drivers and funding to sustain improvement.

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Source: The Independent, 16 March 2022


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