Concerted effort needed to improve maternal mental health care says RCM on NCT research

By RCM on 22 June 2017 Maternal Mental health RCM NCT - National Childbirth Trust Study Midwifery Continuity of Carer - MCOC Midwives

The results of a research to be published today (Thursday, 22nd June 2017) by the NCT shows that nearly half (42%) of new mothers’ mental health problems did not get picked up by a doctor or other health professional.

Commenting on the NCT findings, Mary Ross-Davie, a Director at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), said: “These are worrying results that highlight the lack of support for mothers after the birth. The RCM’s own Pressure Points report in 2014* on maternal mental health identified real gaps in care for women suffering with mental health issues in pregnancy and after the birth, and there appears to have been little progress made since then,"

"It is clear that a concerted effort is needed to improve care for women and this means investment in midwives and other health professionals so that we have the right numbers, with the right skills to be able to offer advice and the right support for these women.

“Ensuring that women see the same midwife or small group of midwives – continuity of carer – will also help to identify and spot problems developing during pregnancy, and after the birth. This will also help to foster a more trusting relationship with the woman, which may also encourage them to share their concerns about their mental health more readily.

“It is critical to stress the importance of this because suicide remains a leading cause of maternal death, with the first six weeks after the birth a time of particular risk. Mental health problems can have a devastating impact on mothers, their babies and families.”