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Mothers happy with NHS maternity care

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A survey of more than 25,000 women in England has shown that 92% of them received good, very good or excellent care during maternity, according to the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Specifically for labour and birth, 58% said they had excellent services, while 26% said it was good, 10% fair and 3% said it was poor.

Since 2007’s results, the number of women who said they were concerned after being left alone by midwives or doctors has declined.

However, some 22% of women said they were left alone and worried, including 12% during labour, 6% shortly after birth and 4% during labour and shortly after birth.

Asked if they were able to move around in labour and choose the position that made them the most comfortable, 64% of women said most of the time, 27% said some of the time and 9% said not at all.

And asked if they got the pain relief they wanted, 65% said definitely, 26% said to some extent and 8% said no.

The report found a significant increase since 2007 in the proportion of women giving birth lying down with legs in stirrups.

Excluding women who had assisted deliveries, 38% gave birth lying down and a further 17% were supported with stirrups, an increase from 14% in 2007.

This contradicts guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), which discourages these positions unless clinically necessary.

Cathy Warwick, general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “Overall, the report is encouraging. It shows improvements and suggests that the investment in maternity services by the previous government has begun to pay welcome dividends.

“The increase in the number of women seeing a midwife first is particularly welcome.

“However, some of the findings show that there is still much to do, in areas such as the provision of antenatal education, high quality care in labour and ensuring appropriate advice and support in the postnatal period.

“It is of vital importance that progress in ensuring high quality maternity services continues, despite the difficult economic climate and a real terms fall in NHS funding.

“This is why it is imperative that this government honours its pledge to employ more midwives to cope with pressures created by the continuingly high birth rate.”



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