Maternity services need improvement, especially for people on low incomes, according to a new survey of 1,391 mothers conducted by Netmums and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM).

The results showed that three-quarters of poor pregnant women were not attending antenatal classes. For those with household incomes under £15,000 per year, 44% had not been offered access to these classes.

For first-time mothers in this group, 26% were not offered classes, compared to just 9% of mothers with household incomes of over £40,000 per year.

Additionally, 64% of women surveyed were not offered a home birth, although this is national policy. Many were uninformed about their choices relating to the birth.

Louise Silverton, deputy general secretary of the RCM, said: “It is a real concern that some women are being poorly served by our community midwifery services. This is particularly so for those on lower incomes because they are often the ones who need them the most.

“I know the midwives are working very hard out there to deliver high quality care. At the same time many of them are doing it with less staff and fewer resources, and that situation is reflected in these results.

“It simply reinforces our call for more midwives and for this government to really realise that standards are falling in maternity services. Without investment I fear they will fall even further.”

Author's Bio: 

Roy Rowlands writes for National Health Executive an essential guide to health service managers offering a wide view of healthcare news, views and opinions