More funding needed to support disadvantaged pregnant women says RCM at TUC’s Women’s Conference

on 05 March 2021 MSWs - Maternity Support Workers Midwives

Today the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has called for more funding and support to break down the barriers faced by women with severe and multiple disadvantage during pregnancy. The call comes at the TUC’s Women’s Conference, where the College has warned that, without appropriate funding and support, vulnerable women experiencing disadvantage are at increased risk of poorer outcomes in pregnancy.

The RCM has previously urged the Government to provide more training for midwives to offer more appropriate support to women who are in abusive relationships, have experienced childhood trauma or have mental health problems. Women who have experienced severe or multiple disadvantage are at greater risk of complications during pregnancy, while a recent MBRRACE UK report found that women living in the most deprived areas in the UK are 50% more likely to experience stillbirth or neonatal death.

Commenting the RCM’S General Secretary and Chief Executive Gill Walton said:

“Too many women face barriers to accessing the right care and support during pregnancy, and that has potentially tragic implications. Midwives can be extraordinarily effective in identifying needs and advocating for women. Many go above and beyond to support women in their care. Sadly, too often their effectiveness is hampered by a lack of resources, such as staff shortages which mean that midwives’ time is stretched across all the women in their care and opportunities for training are postponed. As a result, women at their most vulnerable do not always get the care they need or deserve.

“That is why we are calling on the Government to fund maternity services properly, to have the right levels of staffing and specialist midwife posts to lessen the risk to women and their babies. We have recommendations that can begin to tackle this issue, comprising of specialist midwives working on the frontline and women with lived experience, but without adequate funding for training and staffing we are fighting a losing battle."

Last year the RCM brought together an expert group, including women with lived experience to work together and develop a series of actions to support midwives in caring for women with severe and multiple disadvantage. They also highlighted the need for more appropriate training for midwives to better support and meet the complex needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged women.



To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email [email protected]


Notes to Editors:

1. RCM position statement on supporting women with severe and multiple disadvantage Publications (

2. Give midwives the autonomy and the flexibility they need to support vulnerable women, says RCM

3. Listen to RCM podcast on supporting vulnerable women here:

4. TUC Women’s Conference 2021 – Our Future, Our Fight – more details here:

5. The RCM’s first motion to conference is on: Miller's Bill: The government must adopt the Pregnancy & Maternity Bill –


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