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Hospitals sent us home too early, say 40% of new mums

Four in ten women are sent home from hospital too soon after giving birth, according to a report.

Some said they were rushed out just two hours later and described the ordeal as so traumatic that it contributed to post-natal depression.

Midwives also say they are being forced to discharge distressed women who are struggling to breastfeed for the first time just to free up a bed.

A report by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) includes a survey of nearly 500 women in which 40 per cent said they were discharged before they were ready.

This included 9 per cent who said they were rushed out of the hospital, with some being distressed, in pain and struggling to cope with the new baby.

One woman said: ‘I had great care with my first baby, with the second I was rushed home within a couple hours of giving birth, distressed and in pain, probably still in shock, which contributed to my post-natal depression.’

Another mother said: ‘I definitely feel that staff are under huge stress and the quality of care is affected.

‘After I had my baby I felt awful and wanted to stay overnight but was told no, that it was not a hotel.’

Additionally, a survey of more than 3,000 midwives and maternity staff by the RCM found that women are not receiving enough home visits after the birth.

More than a third of staff said they did not have enough time to go through the basics such as feeding, bathing and breastfeeding with mothers.

One midwife told the RCM: ‘The women are discharged inadequately prepared from the ward because the hospital is grossly understaffed.’

One of the mothers questioned also referred to the problem, saying: ‘I saw so many different midwives, both before and after the birth of my baby, that they had not a hope of offering the kind of care that I wanted.

‘I never had a chance to get to know and trust any of them, and they never had a chance to get to know me.’

The RCM says there are too few midwives to properly look after women while they are in hospital and after being discharged, with the birth rate in England having risen by a fifth in the last decade. It has calculated that an extra 5,000 midwives are needed.

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the RCM, said the shortage meant that women are not getting the best possible post-natal care.

‘This can have a massive impact on the health and wellbeing of the mother and her baby after the birth and well into the future,’ she said.

‘The impact good post-natal care has on women’s experiences and their long-term health should not be underestimated. Post-natal care should always be based on women’s needs and not on funding or organisational issues.

‘This reinforces the need for more midwives. Numbers have been increasing but not fast enough and England remains seriously short of the numbers needed if care is to be of high quality throughout antenatal, labour and postnatal care.’

Projections show that 743,000 babies will be born this year, the highest since 1971.

In addition, a higher number of women are having more complicated births due to obesity, type 2 diabetes and the fact they are having children at an older age.

A Department of Health spokesman said: ‘The NHS remains one of the safest places in the world to give birth and the latest independent CQC survey found that maternity care in England continues to improve, with women reporting high levels of trust and confidence in staff caring for them.

‘We now have over 1,700 more midwives since 2010 with a further 6,000 in training, which will help hospitals to make sure they give the best possible support to all families.

Source: Dailymail.

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