Birth is an event that unites us all. It doesn’t matter who you are, we all have experience of it — even if you haven’t given birth yourself, you have been born!
The arrival of a new life is a time of great emotion. It is also a time of great vulnerability, because we are dependent on others to help us through it.
In the 21st-century, childbirth can sometimes become a medical event. Women can feel disempowered, and sadly some women and families say that they are not treated with dignity and respect.
We need to balance choice and risk. For most families, birth can be simple and straightforward, needing little intervention. However, some women and babies face risks that are sometimes very serious. We need to recognise that every woman is an individual, with her own wishes and experiences.
We also need to consider how we best support women and their partners before birth and as they adjust to parenthood or a growing family? In addition, the needs of families whose birth was not straightforward: which could include a traumatic birth, a baby requiring special care, or a baby born still. We need consistently good maternity care for all women. We need to reflect on the importance of kindness, empathy, and compassion. We all have a part to play.
#MatExp is a powerful grassroots campaign using the Whose Shoes?® approach to identify and share best practice across the nation’s maternity services. It has already been triggering discussions about what needs to improve; we are so grateful to all the people from across the country who have shared their thoughts and experiences.
Read Diane Menage’s description of a WhoseShoes workshop.
You are all helping us build a powerful social movement for change! We need to work together to make it happen! The NHS Change Day Maternity Experience campaign aims to:
- Encourage and empower users of maternity services to join conversations about their experiences of maternity care, and what really makes a difference to that experience, including maximising the potential of Maternity Voices.
- Get health care professionals (in and beyond the NHS) and local communities to listen and work in partnership with women and families to improve maternity experiences.
- To enable anyone to take action to improve maternity experience, however big or small, whoever you are: user, partner, community group or NHS staff.
For more on the campaign please see the NHS Change Day website.
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