Birth Stories: Experiences of Maternity Services in Camden

What we did:

  • We spoke to 9 women who had recently given birth to understand what it’s like to give birth in Camden
  • We also spoke to 4 midwives (2 from UCLH and 2 from the Royal Free) to understand how stretched local NHS services are
  • We wanted to understand if there were any disparaties in care throughout the pregnancy journey, and even after the baby is born.

What we found:

  • Even though midwives thought birth plans were commonly used, many women had little to no idea of what one was, or was never given her own opportunity to decide what would happen in her birth
  • Mothers felt there was an expectation for them to know what they’re doing after giving birth, especially if their birth was not traumatic
  • BAME women and women who didn’t speak English fluently were more likely to have negative experiences
  • Even though many shared negative experiences, some had more positive experiences with their consultants and midwives
  • Midwives often do not get time to enjoy well-being activities given to them, due to extreme staffing shortages on the different wards.

Our recommendations:

We’ve made recommendations to the North Central London Integrated Care Board (NCL ICB), the Royal Free Trust, and the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
These include:

  • Improving methods to provide more continuity of care
  • Improved and mandatory training on race and ethnicity
  • More substantial well-being systems for midwives