New mothers not aware of dangers that could be fatal to mum and baby


The Royal College of Midwives have shown concern and frustration at not having sufficient time to spend with new mother and their babies.

A recent poll has indicated that about 47% of new mothers are not advised within one day after giving birth of how to identify dangerous conditions that could be fatal for both them and their babies.

The Netmums survey showed that only 24% of the participants had memory of receiving warning sign information. This is despite the guidelines set by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) which states that this information should be provided within 24 hours after the birth.

The poll involved 486 respondents and the co-founder of Netmums, Sally Russell, has expressed deep concern about the results. She said that many of the conditions faced are simpler to treat the sooner they are recognised. She further stated that the budget pressures currently being experienced by the health authorities may mean that not every family is receiving the information, but if a mother becomes ill, the health authorities will need to spend much more on her treatment plan than simply passing on the vital information required within 24 hours.

The Royal College of Midwives has said that women should be alert to heavy or continuing vaginal bleeding, a rash, shortness of breath, difficulty or pain whilst passing urine, fever, headaches, swelling or pain in the perineal or vulval areas, or in the legs.

Mothers should be alert to symptoms in their babies. These include high temperatures above 38C, rashes, loss of appetite, grunting while breathing, floppiness and their nappies being drier than it usually is.

The College has stated that their frustration at not being able to spend time with the new mothers and babies has grown as it is vital that adequate postnatal care be provided. They stated that most of the maternal deaths occurred post-birth. The Royal College of Midwives has done its own poll, involving 98 maternity support workers, 950 student midwives and 2123 midwives. The results indicated that around 36% of these workers would like to have the opportunity to offer more help to mothers and their babies.

Two-thirds of the midwives involved in the poll stated that the number of visits women received was dictated by the pressures on the hospital’s organisation. The RCM further stated that the results of their poll boosted their campaign for at least 4800 more midwives to be employed. This increase in the numbers of midwives will allow for mothers to receive the vital information they require.

Image credit: gregoryrallen


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Emma Brown

Emma graduated in 2005 from the University of York with a degree in English Literature. A huge passion for writing and health topics, Emma is a perfect match for Health News UK. Hobbies include; cooking, writing (of course), musicals and her 2 dogs.

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