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New Study Underscores The Importance Of Addressing Birth Trauma

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New Study Underscores The Importance Of Addressing Birth Trauma

Welcoming the arrival of your newborn should be a joyful and memorable event. However, a report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Birth Trauma in the UK has shed light on numerous errors and shortcomings that have resulted in stillbirths, premature births, and life-altering disabilities and injuries for both mothers and infants.

The inquiry revealed that the quality of your birthing experience could vary significantly based on where you reside. MP Theo Clarke, the inquiry’s chair, expressed, “It is unacceptable that, depending on your location, the level of care and support provided during and after childbirth can differ.” With input from over 1300 women, the 80-page report recommended the implementation of a standardized level of care in maternity services throughout the UK.

Furthermore, the report proposed the necessity to “Attract, train, and retain additional midwives, obstetricians, and anaesthetists to ensure adequate staffing levels in maternity services and offer compulsory training on trauma-informed care.” It also called for “inclusive access to specialized maternal mental health services nationwide to eliminate regional discrepancies” and emphasized the importance of “honoring mothers’ preferences regarding childbirth and pain relief and promoting mother-infant bonding whenever feasible.” The report urged the Prime Minister and the UK Government to fully implement these recommendations.

Where to find assistance if experiencing challenges during pregnancy or postpartum

Given the revelations of the recent Parliament Group report on Birth Trauma, it is not surprising that “more than a quarter of parents in the UK struggle with mental health issues during pregnancy or within the first two years after childbirth.”

While resources may be limited, there are available support services for individuals, regardless of gender, facing difficulties following a traumatic birth, during pregnancy, or while transitioning into parenthood.

Resources to reach out to include:

•Association for Post Natal Illness: This organization offers a nationwide network of telephone and email volunteers who have experienced and recovered from postnatal illness. They additionally provide services for partners and families. Contact their helpline at 020 7386 0868 (operating from 10am to 2pm, Monday to Friday) or email at [email protected]

•Pre and Postnatal Depression Advice and Support (PANDAS): PANDAS offers various support options, including online and in-person support groups, along with a helpline at 0808 196 1776 (available from 11am to 10pm daily) or email at [email protected]

•NCT: Ensuring that every new parent feels secure, connected, and confident is the mission of NCT. They can be reached at 0300 330 0700 (operating from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday)

•Mind: This mental health charity offers online support and an information line at 0300 123 3393 (available from 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday) or email at [email protected]

New mental health support service for new parents launched in West London

This week witnessed the introduction of a new service by West London NHS (WLNHS) named HUG, which is a mental health service catering to expecting or new parents in need of assistance.

HUG functions as a confidential and free 24/7 text support perinatal mental health service for pregnant individuals and new parents in Ealing, Hounslow, Hammersmith, and Fulham. Developed as a pilot initiative by the NHS trust, the charity SHOUT, and the Royal College of Psychiatrists, HUG’s unveiling coincided with Mental Health Awareness Week.

“The text messaging service provided by HUG will play a vital role in raising awareness about available assistance. It offers a confidential and accessible platform that guides individuals towards mental health resources within our community,” stated Dr. Sarah Taha, a Consulting Perinatal Psychiatrist and Clinical Lead at the Trust’s perinatal mental health services. She is of the opinion that this support, especially during such a critical period, will empower individuals to seek help early, resulting in improved outcomes for families.

Fahima, a mother of two from Southall, shared her experience of battling severe anxiety during her second pregnancy. She found solace in the service and expressed, “Having multiple entry points to perinatal mental health services is beneficial. In this era of social media and texting, it’s exciting for mothers. It provides another avenue for support that’s private and can be accessed while managing everyday mom duties like breastfeeding.” Fahima mentioned that she feels hopeful for the first time in a while.

Perinatal or postnatal depression can impact anyone, irrespective of their anticipated joy during pregnancy or childbirth. Support is available, so if you find yourself struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out to your midwife, health worker, or GP. For those in West London, the new pilot service HUG is also an option.

If you reside in participating areas and wish to utilize HUG, simply text the word HUG to 85258. Trained volunteers, supervised and supported in real-time by an expert clinical team, will promptly respond to your message.

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