Women need ‘up to a year’ to recover from childbirth instead of six weeks, says Salford University doctor

By Sophia Rahman

A Salford University expert is claiming that women need up to a year to recover from childbirth, instead of the official view of six weeks.

The study released found that women’s postnatal recovery may take 12 months, and is being hindered by the scant supply of midwives available nationwide.

Dr Julie Wray’s report found that many women do not want to ask for much needed postnatal care as they can see that their midwives are overworked due to the departments being understaffed.

Dr Wray said: “The research shows that more realistic and woman-friendly postnatal services are needed. Women feel that it takes much longer than six weeks to recover and they should be supported beyond the current six to eight weeks after birth.

“However, government funding cuts and a national shortage of midwives means that postnatal services will only face further challenges. The midwifery profession must raise the status of postnatal care as any further erosion can only be bad for women and their children.”

Interviews with midwives also revealed that too much of their time is dedicated to paperwork, leaving little remaining for the families they joined the profession to help.

Subsequently where new mothers were once provided with hands-on support and guidance, in caring for themselves and their newborns after their delivery, they are now more often ‘left to get on with it’.

Professor Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, is in agreement with the report’s findings and has put together an e-petition intended to get 5000 more midwives on maternity wards nationwide, a move which the school believe will allow for more thorough and holistic provision of care for mothers and babies across England.

The petition has – at time of writing – received 30,177 signatures. E-petitions require 100,000 signatures in total if they are to be debated by parliament.

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