Yesterday’s report by the National Federation of Women’s Institute and NCT highlights key rights-based concerns facing UK women accessing maternity services. The report, which looked at the care received by 5500 women over the past five years, concluded that choice of place of birth remained “an aspiration, not a reality” and paints a picture of “fragmented” antenatal care and lack of postnatal support.
The report followed on the heels of this week’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ Patterns of Maternity Care paper, which found substantial variations between hospitals in numbers of inductions of labour, emergency caesareans, instrumental deliveries and other common intrapartum procedures.
At Birthrights we are only too aware of the profound impact that denying a woman choice of where to give birth can have on her physical and mental wellbeing. When compounded by feeling “let down” by the care received, the experience of childbearing within the current UK system can be unbearable for some and lead to long-term consequences.
There are many within and without the current system working hard to promote change and to deliver care that respects women’s rights. We look forward to hearing from many of these innovators at the forthcoming Dignity in Childbirth Forum in October and are currently calling for submissions on this subject. Reports like the above serve to highlight the importance of cross-professional discussion and collaboration in this area and underline the importance of our work.