The statement has come shortly after the union launched an e-network for health care professionals working within perinatal health, which has been funded by the government’s Department for Health.
The e-network hopes to enable midwives and other health care professionals to gain access to resources and information on maternal mental health, as well as a forum for discussion to help provide better care for women.
The publication, supported by the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, outlines standards for specialist maternal mental health midwives and was launched at the RCM conference this week.
Five recommendations are outlined in the publication including:
- Every maternity trust should have a midwife who specialises in maternal mental health at senior level
- A whole system should be introduced to approach perinatal mental health within every health trust/board
- Health care professionals working with women during the perinatal period must have basic awareness and knowledge of perinatal mental health
The publication also highlights the need for women’s mental and physical health to have equal importance during pregnancy and after childbirth.
Chief Executive of RCM, Cathy Warwick said: “The standards and recommendations are not simply a wish list. They are essential in enabling midwives to acquire the skills and expertise to identify women with mental health problems, and to provide appropriate support, care and referral so that they receive the best possible care.”
According to RCM, up to 20% of women are affected by mental health problems at some point during their pregnancy or within the first year after birth.
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