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New mums feeling 'unsupported'

Nearly half of women were not told about the signs and symptoms of conditions that could need emergency help following childbirth, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has said. 

A survey released by the RCM and Netmums found that nearly a third of women (30.8%) felt unsupported. 

Nearly two thirds (60%) of women said they experienced feeling down or depressed after giving birth, but just over a third (40%) of midwives who responded to the question said that they had enough time and resources to support and inform women about emotional wellbeing. 

Support with feeding their babies was another area of anxiety for women. Well over two-thirds (40%) of women who responded to the question said they were not given enough information about breastfeeding. Over a fifth (21.4%) of women said they had no support at all with breastfeeding. 

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “These surveys confirm some of my fears about the level and quality of postnatal care that midwives are able to provide and that women are receiving. 

“While I recognise that the government are working hard to increase midwife numbers, the serious shortage that currently exists is having an impact and it is affecting the quality of care for women. The postnatal period is crucial for many reasons. It is a critical period to identify women who may be at risk of developing mental health problems or who are finding it difficult to adjust to their new role as a mother.

"We need to get postnatal care right and we need to get it right quickly.”