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Stirling launches national project to improve postnatal care for women

“Recent UK evidence suggests that postnatal care is not meeting the needs of women,” says Dr Helen Cheyne of the University of Stirling’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health.

This has led the University to spearhead the launch of the National Postnatal Care Redesign Project at a seminar to be held on Friday 20 May. The Project will gather evidence from across the UK to create a package of best practice in postnatal care, which will include a toolkit that individual health authorities can adapt to meet their specific needs.

Dr Cheyne says: “Maternity services are currently challenged to provide postnatal care that meets the needs of women and families in a climate of financial constraints. During the last 20 years, observational studies have reported widespread and persistent maternal ill health following childbirth.

For example, 30% of women have urinary incontinence after childbirth and postnatal depression is a major issue.

“Midwives in the UK have a statutory duty to provide care to women after childbirth for a minimum of 10 days. However, competing priorities, the more complex health needs of women and increases in interventions during labour and birth have resulted in a system which does not meet the needs of women.

“The wellbeing of mothers, babies and young children is of central importance to the health of the nation. Improvement in the health of women throughout pregnancy, and of babies and young children, is an international healthcare target and embedded in Scottish Government Health Policy.”

The Project, jointly funded by the Scottish Government and the Royal College of Midwives, will be piloted in Scotland before being made available throughout the UK.

The launch of the National Postnatal Care Redesign Project features many high profile midwifery leaders, including Dr Debra Bick of King’s College, London, Gillian Smith of the Royal College of Midwives and Ann Holmes, Consultant Midwife.

The launch will take place at the University’s School of Nursing Midwifery and Health on Friday 20 May from 10am to 12.20pm.

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