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It is estimated that around 1 in 7 couples in the UK experience infertility (NICE, 2013) equating to approximately 3.5 million people. Seeking to improve support for women pregnant after assisted conception, here are a few points that Katie Eaves has highlighted in the RCM Midwives Magazine (2015): 

  • Acknowledge the journey these women have been on prior to pregnancy.
  • Encourage mothers to express any anxieties and reassure with accurate information, assessment and monitoring. 
  • Promote confidence for these women to carry a baby through pregnancy, to labour normally, and with parenting skills. 

Some of the research findings highlight the impact of infertility and fertility treatments as follows: 

  • Feelings of loss/bereavement from failure to conceive
  • Social isolation
  • Stigma/taboo attached to infertility
  • Couples avoid/withdraw from social groups
  • Financial strains from cost of treatments
  • Depression/Anger/Jealousy/Fear
  • Overriding feeling of failure

Women say they feel different when pregnant after infertility/fertility treatment:

  • Reported sense of abandonment (Morgan, 2008)
  • More hospital admissions due to anxiety (Kondstall et al 2000)
  • This cohort have specific psychological needs which differ significantly from women with spontaneous conceptions (Hjelmstedt et al, 2004)
  • Adjustment to pregnancy and transition to parenthood can be difficult, with parents loathe to discuss negative feelings (French et al, 2015)

This series is about recognising and acknowledging the additional support that women and families may require following their experience with infertility and subsequently becoming pregnant. With thanks to Katie Eaves, Midwifery Educator and Labour ward coordinator who is passionate about providing support for pregnancy after infertility/ assisted conception. 

 

Follow the series   |  1  |  2  |   3  |

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Understanding women and partner's experience as they enter maternity care after fertility treatment is important. Healthtalk.org have out together a series of videos and audio clips to help healthcare professionals understand the journey involved with infertility.

>> click here to watch and read more about the available resources

One of the sections focus on the experiences of women accessing maternity care with a series of videos and personal accounts. 

“But people do put you in the same category as a normal pregnant woman…they think once you are pregnant, well you are the same as everyone else. Well, you might look the same as everybody else, but actually you are not.” (Liz). 

>> click here to watch and read more about women's experiences during pregnancy

The experiences of partners are also highlighted in this resource. 

"But I think, yes, however, much you talk there is always going to be that element of doubt. And I just felt that, it is purely really helpless, not knowing what one can do to help, except just be there really. And there is quite a lot of trips you can’t help, and I think those are probably the worst. You know, when you can’t take time off or you can’t go on every single trip down to the hospital. So there was a lot of those." (James)

>> click here to watch videos and read more about the partner's experiences

 

This Connections Series is about recognising and acknowledging the additional support that women and families may require following their experience with infertility and subsequently becoming pregnant. With thanks to Katie Eaves, Midwifery Educator and Labour ward coordinator who is passionate about providing support for pregnancy after infertility/ assisted conception.

 

Follow the series   |  1  |  2  |   3  |

A student midwife’s journey from inception to qualification is a wide a varied path to tread, comprising of input from mentors, educators, service users and fellow students. This can be about whether the evidence-based practices they are taught in university translate into those they see in practice or whether student midwives are experiencing some form of university/practice mismatch and knowledge disconnect.

This section is based on the Consensus Statement from the Maternity Care Working Party (2007) to be used for data collection and measurement.

The ‘normal delivery’ group includes
• women whose labour starts spontaneously, progresses spontaneously without drugs, and who give birth spontaneously;
• and women who experience any of the following provided they do not meet the exclusion criteria (see below):
• augmentation of labour,
• artificial rupture of the membranes (ARM) if not part of medical induction
of labour,
• Entonox,
• opioids,
• electronic fetal monitoring,
• managed third stage of labour,
• antenatal, delivery or postnatal complications (including for example postpartum haemorrhage, perineal tear, repair of perineal trauma, admission to SCBU or NICU).

The ‘normal delivery’ group excludes
• women who experience any one or more of the following:
• induction of labour (with prostaglandins, oxytocics or ARM),
• epidural or spinal,
• general anaesthetic,
• forceps or ventouse,
• caesarean section, or
• episiotomy’

It was noted that some MCWP members would like the Information Centre definition tightened in future to also exclude procedures like augmentation of labour, use of opioids drugs, artificial rupture of the membranes or managed third stage. This would depend on the necessary statistics being routinely collected. Alternatively, a tighter definition could lead to the establishment of a separate definition of ‘physiological’ or ‘natural’ birth.

 

Resources

RCM products ready for downloading and/or printing for non-commercial use.

Key reports, case studies, and examples from maternity services and projects.

Knowledge sharing through webinar recordings and videos.

Key sources of information and data on maternity care in the UK.

A comprehensive knowledge sharing platform for high quality maternity care in the UK

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