1,000 signatures reached
To: Health Minister, Daniel Poulter MP
For every woman to have a known and trusted midwife caring for her during birth
Most women meet many different midwives during the course of their maternity care, most of whom they will meet only once or twice. Their labour and birth will be watched over by strangers.
So that every woman can have a known and trusted midwife caring for her when she has her baby, I urge the government to remove the barriers to the provision of true
continuity of carer and create a woman-centred maternity care system that provides incentives for continuity and properly remunerates midwives who deliver
this kind of care.
Why is this important?
Today more than 2000 women will give birth. Of those, only 380 (less than 20%) will be attended at any point in their labour by a midwife they have met before. 1 in 5 will be left alone in labour.
Having a baby is a life-changing experience. It is one that a woman and her family will never forget. The care that she receives throughout pregnancy, birth and in the weeks afterwards play such a significant part in her life from that point on that her and her partner’s ability to parent their child is profoundly affected by the experience.
Research shows that when a mum-to-be is able to meet a midwife early in her pregnancy and have care from that midwife throughout her pregnancy, her labour and her birth, it makes a difference for the baby, her labour and the way she feels. It improves safety and makes the process of becoming a parent more positive.It also saves the NHS money.
Numerous studies have shown that a woman who has a midwife she knows and trusts is more likely to have a ‘normal’ birth, is less likely to be induced, less likely to have an episiotomy, an instrumental delivery or an epidural and is more likely to have homebirth and to breastfeed than a woman who doesn’t know her midwife.
Lack of support during labour has been shown to be a significant factor in the development of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
The improved outcomes resulting from continuity of carer also generate significant financial savings. Yet midwives providing this level of commitment are not adequately remunerated for doing so.
Giving the best-supported start to parents means making sure that the birth, and the weeks before and after it, are a positive as well as a safe experience for the new parents and their baby.We can't afford to get this wrong.
The governments and assemblies have acknowledged the improved outcomes that a known and trusted midwife can deliver, yet have failed to create the environment in which this type of woman-centred care can flourish. It is only once the barriers to provision of continuity of carer are removed, that a system that works for women, their partners and their babies will emerge.