More than half of pregnant women in Redbridge don’t see midwife early enough
PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 September 2020
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More than half of pregnant women in Redbridge are not getting their first appointment with a midwife early enough, according to Public Health England (PHE).
The data shows that, during 2018-2019, 2,515 (51 per cent) of women with their first appointment didn’t see a midwife in the opening 10 weeks of pregnancy.
This most up-to-date data places Redbridge 18th out of 32 London councils, with Tower Hamlets — on 84 pc — ranking highest, and Kingston — on 33 pc — ranking lowest.
The borough’s number is almost identical to the London-average of 52 pc, with the figures for the capital higher than the national average of 42 pc.
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PHE say that women who have their appointment after 20 weeks risk missing checks on their baby that can identify infectious diseases and other conditions.
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) says women living in deprived circumstances are particularly missing out on early maternity care, and has implored anyone to contact their local services as soon as they become pregnant to get the help they need.
Lia Brigante, an advisor at the RCM, said: “We urge women to contact their local maternity services or their GP as soon as possible after they find out they are pregnant, so that the midwives can begin to support them with their pregnancy and discuss their care and choices.”
Ms Brigante said there could be many reasons why there is wide variation in when women have their first appointment, with social factors strongly linked to delays: “Deprivation and inequality often contribute to this and some women could be unsure about how to contact their maternity services, for example if they recently came to the UK. For women who don’t have English as their first language, this could also be an issue.
“We are also concerned that some women who may be here as new migrants or asylum seekers are worried that they may be charged for their maternity care.”
She said there was a pressing need to target areas where rates were low to raise awareness among local women about their maternity services.
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