Pregnant mums to be given same midwife until birth under plans to halve maternity deaths

MUMS-to-be will be given the same midwife throughout their pregnancy in an effort by the government to halve maternity deaths.

The NHS announced yesterday that funding for maternity services will be doubled this year to £40 million.

Getty – Contributor1 Expectant mums will be seen by the midwife throughout their pregnancy under new government plans

It means women can expect access to the same midwife – or the same team of midwives – during pregnancy, labour and after birth, the Daily Telegraph reports.

For many expectant mums, it's not uncommon to see a different midwife at all nine or ten of her antenatal consultations and another at the birth.

The current discontinuity results in women having to repeat their personal story to a number of staff members, which can be an upsetting experience.

And researched has previously suggested that women who have the same midwives are less likely to miscarry, likely to lose their baby and have a premature infant.

Funding boost

It's hoped that a third of women will be benefiting from the new plans by March next year, with that figure to rise to more than half by 2021.

Women and unborn children with complex medical needs or from disadvantaged background will be prioritised.

Evidence has shown that these groups would especially benefit from a long-term relationship with a midwife as it can help reduce premature births, hospital admissions, and the need for intervention during labour.

This extra investment in midwives to enhance the care they can provide to mothers is central to how we will achieve that important goal

Prof Jacqueline Dunkley-Bentthe first chief midwifery officer for the NHS

Last year, the then Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, pledged to provide continuity of maternity care.

He said at the time, the plan will “transform results for mothers and babies – reducing stillbirths, miscarriages and neonatal deaths, and the agony that comes with these tragedies”.

Mr Hunt added: “There are few moments in life that matter more than the birth of a child."

Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, the first chief midwifery officer for the NHS, said: “The NHS Long Term Plan sets out an ambition to give every child the best start in life, beginning at conception, and this extra investment in midwives to enhance the care they can provide to mothers is central to how we will achieve that important goal.”

The new funding will be used to reduce the rates of stillbirth, neonatal death, maternal death and brain injury during birth by 20 per cent by the end of 2020/21, and 50 per cent by 2025.

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The number of full-time midwives in the NHS has grown by more than 3,000 in the last decade to almost 22,000 in January this year – a 16 per cent increase.

Figures show that antenatal care costs the taxpayer between £1,590 and £4,233.

A birth without complications costs £3,282 and postnatal care can cost around £1,200.

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