RCM says alarm bells should be ringing over postnatal check failings

on 22 April 2021 Covid-19 Midwives Midwifery Workforce England Postnatal Care Postnatal Depression NCT - National Childbirth Trust

Life threatening problems could get missed says the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) responding to a NCT survey on GP postnatal checks.  This shows that a quarter of new mothers are not being asked about their emotional health and wellbeing at the 6-8 week postnatal GP check.

Janet Fyle, Professional Policy Advisor at the RCM, said: “This should be ringing alarm bells within government. It is deeply worrying that the mental health of many new mothers is being overlooked in this important period after the birth. This is especially troubling given the additional stress they are facing during the pandemic, and that one of the leading causes of death in women in the first year after birth is suicide. There has been additional funding for perinatal mental health and that is welcome, but we must get the basics right first. Supporting women with their mental and physical health after they have given birth is not just crucial, it is a fundamental right that women expect, need and should be getting. We must care for them as well as their baby.

“GPs like many of their NHS colleagues are battling to cope with the demands they are facing with too few of them to do the job. They, along with midwives and their NHS colleagues supporting women through pregnancy and beyond, must be given the resources and time to spend with women; otherwise, important and possibly life-threatening problems may be missed. I would encourage new mothers to raise any problems or concerns they have with their mental or physical health with their midwife, health visitor or GP as soon as possible. They will be able to offer the help and support you need.”

ENDS

To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email [email protected].  

Notes to editors

Read the RCM’s Parental Emotional Wellbeing and Infant Development publication at https://www.rcm.org.uk/media/4645/parental-emotional-wellbeing-guide.pdf.

The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance, and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences, and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.

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