Overweight Mothers-to-be and a Shortage of Staff puts Additional Pressures on Scotland’s Midwifery Service

babyA warning by The Royal College of Midwives over obesity in pregnancy and the additional care mothers may require will be published in a report later today (12th September). It comes at a time when the RCM has also raised the problems of an understaffed Midwifery service.

Advance notice of the report states that last year 51% of pregnant women were overweight or obese.  The majority (54 %) of Scottish babies born in 2017 were to women in their thirties or forties. Between 2000 and 2017 births to women in their early forties shot up over two-thirds (68 %) to 1,907 births. According to the RCM older women and those who are overweight/obese both require more care during pregnancy.

With the added pressure on their service the RCM is worried about the number of vacancies in Midwifery particularly in the North of Scotland.

To address this the Scottish Government increased the number of student midwives and continued the bursaries to encourage more people into the profession.

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Mary Ross-Davie, Royal College of Midwives Director for Scotland, said:

“There are some great things happening in our maternity services in Scotland,  not least the very ambitious Best Start maternity programme. The Scottish Government has also delivered  real increases in the number of student midwives, which we welcome. .

“However, pressures on our midwives are increasing – the care needs of the women in our care are rising, while the number of unfilled midwifery posts is also rising.

“I am still concerned about the age profile of our midwifery workforce, though it is encouraging to see the ‘green shoots’ of higher numbers of younger midwives joining our service.

“We need to work hard to ensure that midwives choose to stay and work in all parts of Scotland, including in the North and in our most remote communities.

“What is important is that our government continues to invest in maternity services to ensure they can cope with current and future demand.

“The NHS, the Scottish Government, the RCM and others need to keep working together to identify the challenges and tackle them. We should be aiming for our maternity care to not just be among the best in the world, but to be the best.”

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

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