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Urgent Reforms Needed: Safeguarding Maternity Care in 2023


baby's foot in an adults hand taken close up so only the foot in is in focus
Unsplash - Maternity

In the landscape of healthcare, few realms are as sacred and crucial as maternity care. It's the pinnacle of hope, the realm where new lives begin their journey into this world. Yet, recent revelations have cast a stark shadow over this vital sphere of healthcare.


I can not stress enough the importance of inclusive care for all genders, ensuring that every individual, regardless of their gender identity, receives equitable and safe maternity care. I see maternity care as inclusive of the many identities, including women, trans men, trans women (with surgery), non-binary, and gender non-conforming people. It is critical that healthcare systems adapt to support individuals of all gender identities during maternity care.


If you have read my previous work, you know I fight against the word woman being removed and generalised to a term that some may find exclusionary in nature, so I prefer to use the power of language to be inclusive by making an effort to name those identities that are included when I speak of this topic. This includes those who do not identify as women in this topic.


Given that I am a woman with a trans history but well beyond childbearing years (I am blessed to have an adult son and daughter in Canada), and this is Trans Awareness Week, I have concern for all of those at risk because of the current situation with maternity care.


I was home early enough from Trans Awareness Week events last night to catch the 10 o'clock news on the BBC. There have been so many horrible stories in the news as of late, but one jumped out at me. It struck a chord in my heart as a parent, woman, feminist and gender equity rebel & advocate. I felt I had to create this post to raise awareness and call for a better effort on behalf of those responsible for taking care of citizens versus their focus on illegal immigration and small boats and the anti-woke war against LGBTQ+ with a detrimental focus on transgender people.


A recent report by England's healthcare regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), revealed disheartening findings: maternity units across the nation are struggling with safety ratings. This report paints a haunting picture of a system in distress, with two-thirds of units deemed inadequate in safety—a significant increase (up 12%) from previous years.


The Alarming Reality Behind these statistics lies heartbreaking stories like that of Rachel Tustain, whose daughter Eve suffered irreparable harm due to inadequacies in maternity care. Eve's tragic story, echoing many others, amplifies the human toll of a system under immense strain.


The Need for Urgent Action This distressing situation isn't new. Multiple initiatives aimed at revamping maternity care have been launched since 2016, yet tangible improvements remain elusive. Promised reductions in fatalities have gone unmet, leaving families yearning for change and accountability.


Identifying the Gaps Scrutinizing these failures, it's evident that the roots lie in systemic deficiencies—shortages in resources, funding gaps, and insufficient training for the very individuals entrusted with the well-being of mothers and babies.


Advocating for Change The need for immediate, substantive investment in maternity services cannot be overstated. Increased funding, robust training, and unwavering support for midwives are indispensable steps toward rectifying these long-standing issues. Additionally, genuine inclusion of affected families in decision-making processes is paramount.


Moving Forward Though the current state appears bleak, glimmers of hope emerge from institutions that have made strides in improving their maternity care. Their successes serve as beacons, illuminating the path toward nationwide reform.


In the face of such distressing revelations, our collective responsibility is clear: demand urgent action. The sanctity of maternity care demands nothing less than our unwavering commitment. As advocates for human rights and safe spaces, we must amplify these voices, spearheading a movement for tangible reforms in maternity services.


Let's stand together, advocating for a system that cherishes and safeguards the beauty of childbirth, ensuring that every mother and child receives the care they deserve.


Here are some places to contact/connect with on this issue:


Pregnant then screwed: https://pregnantthenscrewed.com/


Royal College of Midwives: https://www.rcm.org.uk/



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