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Unrealistic parenting expectations creates extra worries for HVs

Research results released today show that nearly a third of all midwives and health visitors are worried that new parents have unrealistic and impractical expectations of the services they can provide and this hinders their ability to perform to the highest possible standards.

Lorna Bird, midwife at the Princess Anne Hospital, Southampton explains: "Today's society sees many new parents trying to combine their busy careers, and social lives, with bringing up a new family, rather than taking parenthood one step at a time."

She continues: "Many new parents have unrealistic expectations of both childbirth and parenthood. This often leads to extra pressure on themselves and the healthcare professionals who are caring for them."

These findings - from a survey of 1,000 midwives and health visitors - also highlight their desire for parents to be more knowledgeable on key areas of parenting, such as the nutritional needs of baby and mother during and postpregnancy.

Findings from the survey also show that nearly three-quarters of all those questioned are worried about the lack of support and management from their employers, and believe staff shortages are beginning to have a negative effect on the support they can offer new and expectant mothers.

Furthermore, just under half (of the healthcare professionals surveyed) would welcome up to the minute help, advice and literature to help them deal with the issues they face every day in their jobs.

The research has prompted Comfort Pure and Persil Non Bio to set up and launch new website for healthcare professionals - The website is endorsed by the British Skin Foundation and offers midwives and health visitors instant access to up-to-date advice and information to help them deal with the everyday worries of expectant and new mothers.

The new website includes guidance and insights from a panel of healthcare experts including: midwife Lorna Bird, Princess Anne Hospital Southampton; The British Skin Foundation; and practising health visitor Dawn Kelly. Their expertise covers a range of relevant topics, from colic and breastfeeding, to skin sensitivities such as eczema, to advice about laundry.

The latest Nursing in Practice surveyis looking at wound care. Completing the survey will take just 5minutes and the survey results will be reported in theNovember/December 2008 issue of Nursing in Practice magazine. There will also be a prize draw where four lucky winners will win £50 worth of Marks & Spencer vouchers. Click here to take part