A fifth of new mothers not told how to access mental health support, survey finds

12 per cent of new mums were not warned about any changes they might experience to their mental health after giving birth
Jemma Crew (PA)

A FIFTH of new mothers were not told how to access help if their mental health were to decline after giving birth, according to a survey.

And more than one in 10 (12 per cent) were not warned about any changes they might experience to their mental health after having their baby, the Care Quality Commission poll found.

Just under two thirds (63 per cent) of the respondents "definitely" received the information, while a quarter reported it only being communicated "to some extent".

The 2019 survey involved 17,151 women. The majority (over 80 per cent) said midwives always listened to them, and they had confidence and trust in the staff caring for them.

A similar proportion said they were given appropriate advice at the start of labour, and that their breastfeeding decisions were "always" respected by midwives.

But the results also highlight that improvements are needed to continuity of care, access to midwives after giving birth and perinatal mental health.

Less than two thirds (62 per cent) of women said they were always able to get help from a member of staff when they needed attention after the birth.

Nigel Acheson of the CQC said: "The positive feedback from many women completing this survey is a reflection of the hard work and commitment shown by staff working in hospital maternity services... However, it is disappointing that postnatally experiences continue to fall short, particularly in regard to women's mental health needs.

The Royal College of Midwives said it was encouraging to see improvements in many areas but added: "We know that one in five women using maternity services are affected by maternal mental health problems yet there are not enough specialist midwives to care for them."

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