News Tuesday November 16, 2010

Obesity takes its toll on maternity wards

The maternity wards of Britain’s hospitals are being stretched to the limits when it comes to under staffing, due to the number of women giving birth who are obese.

A survey which was carried out by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has revealed that almost 50% of the midwives that are in charge of maternity teams attributed the ‘increasingly complex’ demands of natural births as the reason their staff are under such pressure.

They said that this is because obese women are at higher risk of experiencing complications while giving birth. Today complex births caused by obesity are accountable for 33% of all births that take place in the country.

Women who are obese not only have an increased risk of complications but also face a 50% increased risk of their babies being admitted into intensive care once they have been born.

Despite the understaffing on many of the country’s maternity wards, hospital staffing budgets have been cut by 30%- and many maternity wards have had to let staff go as a result.

The general secretary for the Royal College of Midwives has expressed her concern on the matter: 'I am deeply worried that we are seeing static or falling budgets, yet midwives and maternity services are faced with a continually rising demand’.

Many believe that women should be provided with the practical help, support and advice they need to lose weight by their midwives in the early stages of their pregnancies. In doing so, this means that women would go into labour fitter and healthier, have a more straight forward birth and even help to increase the health of their little one when they arrive.

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