‘Moving in wrong direction’ says RCM Scotland on birth figures

By RCM on 29 November 2016 Scotland Obesity Caesarean Section Older Mothers Midwife Shortage

Today IDS Scotland has published statistics on Birth in Scottish Hospitals, showing increases in caesarean rates and levels of obesity in pregnancy.

Commenting on the statistics, Gillian Smith, Royal College of Midwives, Director for Scotland, said: “It is encouraging to see that the number of women smoking during pregnancy is continuing to fall. This is a significant and encouraging change.

“I do however remain deeply concerned about some of the other results, and it appears that in too many areas we are moving in the wrong direction. The continued rise in caesarean sections is a worry. Whilst some are needed for medical reasons we need to know why the rate is increasing, and take steps to address this.

“This issue is also linked to the rising numbers of overweight and obese pregnant women and I remain concerned about the increase in these numbers. These women are more likely to have a caesarean section, and may also need additional support and care because of the potential complications that can occur in pregnancy for these women. Real efforts are needed to tackle obesity in the country as a whole.

“The rise in older mothers is something that the RCM has persistently highlighted in its annual Maternity Services report *. Older mothers, particularly those over 40, are more likely to have complications in pregnancy than younger mothers. We need to make sure that maternity services are able to meet the needs of these women, who may need additional monitoring and support.

“Related to these statistics is the increasing age of Scotland’s midwifery workforce. The nation could be facing a serious shortage of midwives if steps are not taken to bring through new people, in the right numbers, into the profession.”

To contact the RCM Press Office call 020 7312 3456 or email [email protected].

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Notes to editors

*The RCM’s annual ‘State of Maternity Services Report’ brings together information about maternity services in all four UK countries and also highlights the pressures on maternity services facing each country. The full report can be found on the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/briefings-and-reports

The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.

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