Midwives’ Manifesto For Better Maternity Services
Midwives yesterday called for more to be done to encourage women in Wales to give birth at home in order to meet health targets. The Royal College of Midwives said although Wales was leading the UK when it came to home births, more ambitious steps needed to be taken if the country was to reach its Welsh Assembly- backed target of 10% of births taking place at home.
The RCM made the announcement at the St David’s Day launch of their manifesto aimed at encouraging candidates in the forthcoming elections to focus on improving maternity services in Wales.
RCM Board Head Helen Rogers said, “We are calling on the Welsh Assembly Government to look at how midwives can better help its citizens cope with parenthood. “Wales is leading the UK in home births – 3.6% in 2005 but the truth is that where there have been fewer community-based midwives the rates are lower.”
The document, Better Maternity Services – A Manifesto for Wales 2007, praises the Welsh Assembly for their efforts to increase the number of women breast feeding in Wales.
In 2004 nearly half of Welsh mothers breast fed their babies at the time of birth, but this rate varied massively from just 18% in Blaenau Gwent, to 67% in Cardiff.
The manifesto calls for a new plan to ensure the number of women breast feeding continues to rise, for midwives to be more accessible in the community and for better support of families making the transition to parenthood.
It emphasises that women need continuity of care from a midwife they know and said student midwives need better financial support.
Ms Rogers added, “Making maternity services work better for women and ensuring that Welsh women have access to first-class local maternity services is of vital importance to every one of us. During pregnancy, childbirth and the first few weeks of a newborn’s life, midwives are there – supporting women, offering them health advice, promoting breast feeding.
“Midwives are well-placed to focus on those who need most help and intervention and the manifesto makes it clear how that support can make a real difference in Wales.”