Midwives say the level of maternity care you'll receive will depend on where you live
Whether or not you'll see a midwife within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy depends on your postcode
New NHS data reveals wide variation in the quality and quantity of maternity care across the country, reports The Telegraph.
For example, in 2009/10 90% of pregnant women were seen within the first 12 weeks at the Royal Cornwall Hospital’s NHS Trust, compared with 10% at Walshall Hospitals NHS Trust.
Caesarean rates also varies from hospital to hospital, suggesting it’s not always down to the local population.
“In some trusts, there may be specific demographic or clinical reasons that explain why they carry out more caesareans," said Tim Straughan, chief executive of The NHS Information Centre. "But others will need to examine closely the full range of reasons why their rate is different from the national average of about one caesarean delivery for every four deliveries.”
The figures also showed an increase in the amount of doctors performing births - rising from 10% to 40% in 20 years. The greater number of doctor-assisted births due to complications may be linked to an increase in the number of older and obese mums.
“Midwives are the experts when it comes to normal births and will deliver the vast majority of women having their baby in this way," said Cathy Warwick, from the Royal College of Midwives. "The fact that midwives’ involvement in birth has decreased will be reflected in the increase in caesarean rates and instrumental deliveries over the years.”
Cathy’s comments follow hot on the heels of our story yesterday where she commented on the Government’s u-turn on funding more maternity staff.
“These results show that there is a postcode lottery when it comes to maternity services, and this is worrying when those services are part of a ‘national’ health service. Women should expect and receive high quality care wherever they live, not care that is based upon chance and plain old good luck,” added Cathy.