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Mental health training needed to prevent maternal deaths

A confidential inquiry into maternal deaths during pregnancy or in the year postpartum has made recommendations on improving maternal mental health care.

A report into maternal deaths related to mental health problems has called for better sharing of information about patients across health services.

The confidential UK inquiry into maternal deaths – Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care – focused on maternal mental health and women who died during pregnancy, or in the year postpartum, between 2009 to 2013.

Over the five-year period, 101 women died by suicide, 58 as a consequence of substance misuse, while a further two died from other mental health related causes.

‘There is clear evidence of an ongoing need to ensure that relevant mental health history is shared between primary care, maternity and mental health services,’ the report states.

Lead inquiry author, Marian Knight, said the research shows ‘clear opportunities’ for improving mental health care for women during and after pregnancy.

‘Although severe maternal mental illness is uncommon, it can develop quickly in

A report into maternal deaths related to mental health problems has called for better sharing of information about patients across health services.

The confidential UK inquiry into maternal deaths – Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care – focused on maternal mental health and women who died during pregnancy, or in the year postpartum, between 2009 to 2013.

Over the five-year period, 101 women died by suicide, 58 as a consequence of substance misuse, while a further two died from other mental health related causes.

‘There is clear evidence of an ongoing need to ensure that relevant mental health history is shared between primary care, maternity and mental health services,’ the report states.

Lead inquiry author, Marian Knight, said the research shows ‘clear opportunities’ for improving mental health care for women during and after pregnancy.

‘Although severe maternal mental illness is uncommon, it can develop quickly in women after birth,’ she said.

‘A pattern of declining mental health may not be identified as women are seen by doctors, midwives and nurses in different parts of the health service and no one joins up the dots and sees the warning signs.’

RCN professional lead for midwifery and women’s health Carmel Bagness said: ‘Employers should now ensure midwives and nurses have the training and time to support better mental health of mothers.’

To read Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care click here

 

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