On 9 January 2024, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on birth trauma established an inquiry to investigate the reasons for traumatic births and to develop policy recommendations aimed at reducing the rate of birth trauma.

The cross-party inquiry is led by Theo Clarke MP and Rosie Duffield MP. The main aim of the inquiry is to understand more about experiences of women who have been affected by traumatic birth. However, the wider inquiry objectives are as follows:

  1. Identify common features in maternity care (antenatally, during labour and birth, and postnatally) that contribute to birth trauma.
  2. Highlight examples of good practice, both in the quality of maternity care and in providing support to women who have had traumatic birth experiences.
  3. Look at the impact of birth trauma on women’s relationships, ability to bond with their baby and future decision-making (e.g. whether to have another baby, whether to return to work).
  4. Find out whether current postnatal services to diagnose and treat women’s physical and mental health problems are up to scratch. This would include, for example, looking at whether severe obstetric tears are being diagnosed promptly, whether mental health problems are being identified at the six-to- eight-week check, and whether perinatal mental health teams are accepting and treating women within an appropriate time frame.
  5. Develop parameters for understanding the possible economic cost of birth trauma, with a view to informing future research.
  6. Influence government policy by identifying areas where maternity care could be improved to minimise birth trauma and by highlighting ways in which postnatal support can be optimised to meet women’s physical and psychological needs after traumatic birth.

The inquiry invited written submissions both from parents and from professionals who work in maternity and other relevant medical fields.

Submissions closed on Tuesday 06 February 2024. The inquiry is now gathering the written and oral evidence that they have received and/or obtained to inform the policy report. The report will importantly include practical policy recommendations for the UK government. This is due to be published in Spring 2024.

In addition to this, seven sessions to hear evidence will run on consecutive Mondays in February and March.

Recent media spotlight has highlighted the national crisis surrounding maternity and obstetrics units across the UK. Inquiry’s such as the one led by the APPG will be integral in ensuring policy makers account for the unfortunate experiences that many families have lived through during and after childbirth.

Our clinical negligence team is currently instructed on a number of cases that form a part of the Derby Trust Maternity review.

You can learn more about the inquiry below:

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The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.

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