March With Midwives UK: Vigil in Chichester to raise awareness of crisis in profession
Doulas, midwives, parents and birth and postnatal workers are coming together to march with midwives.
The vigil in Chichester is to raise awareness of the current crisis across the UK in midwifery retention, working conditions and the general state of perinatal and postnatal services.
Victoria Greenly is a postnatal doula based in Midhurst, she said: “The pandemic has shown up the cracks that have been present for over a decade. According to the Royal College of
Midwives and many midwives themselves, working conditions for midwives are harsh and punitive which makes midwife retention at an all time low.”
Those at the vigil want the government to: listen to all staff and service users and advocates; fund emergency retention of staff enable all qualified midwives who are willing to work and support students to enter training and finish their course and reduce the demands on staff.
Victoria said: “The crisis impacts every level of society.
“This then has an impact on the safety of a birthing parent.
“As of July 2021, 41 per cent of all perinatal services are rated “inadequate” or “requires improvement” for safety.
“Black women have a four times higher maternal mortality rate and Asian women have a two times higher maternal mortality rate than white women.
“Rates of birth trauma, postnatal depression and other perinatal mental health conditions are too high.
“Many midwives report not having time to eat, have a drink or go to the bathroom within their shifts which has a negative impact on their physical health and efficacy.
“There are high rates of mental health issues within midwifery and most midwives feel undervalued by the government.”
A number of marches are taking place nationally and organisers are calling on the UK government to implement urgent crisis management and resources.
Victoria said: “Giving birth in the UK, a high-income country, is becoming critically unsafe. This is unacceptable.
“Where women and babies are not well, their families, communities and countries become unwell.”
The vigil is taking place at 2pm on November 21 at Chichester Cross clock tower.