NHS staff have warned that mothers are being “forgotten” after giving birth, with the emphasis focused on providing safe care during labour, and that staff shortages are making this worse. The Royal College of Midwives have reported that with each covid wave midwifery staffing has been hit worse than the last.
Experts have advised that postnatal care is understaffed and unfunded. Community midwives are sometimes struggling with a caseload of almost double those of a manageable level, leading to physical complications, mental health and safeguarding issues all being overlooked.
In this article a 32 year-old women from Leeds describes what happened to her after giving birth to a large baby at Leeds General Hospital in 2013. She suffered ongoing pain, bleeding and diarrhoea only to be told by medics initially that her symptoms were “normal” and latterly due to postnatal depression.
One year after giving birth she was referred to Sheffield Hospital where they found the surgery to repair the tear she suffered during birth had not properly been performed. This discovery by clinicians lead to two operations but she has been told the only option to address her pain is to have a colostomy bag which she is now waiting for.
Medical Negligence specialist Clair Hemming comments:
"I handle a significant number of claims around complications arising through child birth. Unfortunately, this report comes as no great surprise based on my experience. Whilst there are many descriptions of caring and dedicated individual midwives, there is a consistent theme of understaffed maternity units, full to bursting and limited access to or poor postnatal support. Postnatal complications are also not uncommon but thankfully not all are serious. However I do have a number of cases where sadly mums have not had the support that they should have had and warning signs have been missed which have led to serious and long term consequences, both for mother and child."
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