New mothers and babies discharged too soon after birth

Posted by Samantha Ward on


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A survey, commissioned by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), of over 2000 midwives, student midwives, midwifery support workers and new mothers has revealed concerns that up to 40% of new mothers are being discharged home from hospital before they are ready. An ongoing shortage of midwives, particularly in post natal care areas has been identified.

It is not a surprise to learn that maternity services are stretched; the survey revealed that midwives are concerned that new mothers are not getting the support they need in the post natal period regarding issues such as feeding, pain symptoms and caring for their new babies in general. The RCM is concerned that this could have a significant impact on long-term physical and emotional wellbeing.

Jane Munro, the report’s author and the Quality and Audit Development Adviser at the RCM, warned that discharging mothers before they were ready meant they were not being given enough advice on how to spot danger signs in their and their baby’s health which in turn could increase the risk of delays in diagnosing serious illnesses, as detailed in a recent article in The Independent.


The RCM is focussing on a project to 'Protect Maternity Services'; to try and improve funding and resources to enable midwives to provide the care these women need and are entitled to receive. In order to help mothers understand the care they should be getting the RCM are producing a series of mini reports looking at aspects which relate to, or are affected by the shortage of resources in caring for women in the postnatal period.

Read more on the Royal College of Midwives website

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About the Author

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Sam is a Registered Nurse with 17 years' experience working in the NHS. She uses her medical and nursing knowledge and experience to liaise with clients.

Samantha Ward
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