The shortage of NHS midwives is "so obvious" to anyone working in the NHS, leaving working staff with low morale and "worn out" from the job, a former midwife has told Daybreak.
Nora Pearce said maternity staff "have been promised that there will be more" but extra midwives always failed to appear.
Maternity services in the UK are under strain due to a lack of trained and experienced staff need to provide "safe, high quality care", the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) have said.
Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the RCM backed up a report from MPs which blasted the NHS and Government for a 2,300 void in the number of trained midwives.
Compensation paid to new mothers for problems during childbirth is "too high", an influential group of MPs said.
In a damning report into maternity care in the NHS, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) found maternity cases accounted "for a third of total clinical negligence payments".
An influential group of MPs has hit out at the Government and NHS for the lack of funding and expertise on maternity units.
The Public Accounts Committee found there was a national shortage of 2,300 midwives and said many maternity units were "running at a loss".
PAC said it was hard to find anyone accountable for "ensuring something as fundamental" as whether the NHS has enough midwives, in a scathing report in maternity care.
The committee reported rates of infection among new mothers and the baby as well as injury to the newborn "are all higher at the weekend".
It added: "Although there have been substantial improvements in levels of consultant presence on labour wards in recent years, over half of obstetric units were still not meeting the levels recommended by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists at September 2012."
New mothers often feel "bullied" into breastfeeding, a survey into maternity care found.
The survey by the Care Quality Commission said 41% of women felt "inadequately supported" when feeding their new baby and that the pressure to breastfeed made them feel isolated and guilty.
One new mother said the feeding issue was "the most upsetting part" of her care.
"Midwives and health visitors make you feel bullied into breastfeeding… I was desperate to breastfeed during my pregnancy, and I was devastated when I couldn't, but the comments and the way you are made to feel guilty is totally unacceptable,” the woman said.
The Royal Council of Midwifery said the "NHS continues to fail too many women," who are not able to see the same midwife during and after their pregnancy.
A survey by the health regulator, the CQC, found only 28% of women can rely on the care of the same midwife over the course of their pregnancy.
Ms Warwick said this is due to the shortage of qualified midwives.
"The RCM’s latest estimate is that the NHS in England is short of 4,800 midwives, so it is sadly inevitable that women will see many different midwives," she said.
The health regulator, the Care Quality Commission, has named maternity care trusts that it said provide worse care than they did during the last survey in 2010.
- Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHSTrust
- Barts Health NHS Trust
- Croydon Health Services NHS Trust
- Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Lewisham Health Care NHS Trust
- North West London Hospitals NHS Trust
- Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
Here are some of the key findings of a major survey by the Care Quality Commission of women's experiences of maternity services:
- A quarter said they were left alone at a time that worried them during labour and birth (up from 22 percent in 2010)
- Almost one in five said their concerns were not taken seriously
- 77 percent felt they were always involved in decisions about their care (up from 74 percent in 2010)
- 71 percent were able to move around and find a position that made them most comfortable during labour and birth
- 78 percent said they definitely had confidence and trust in the staff caring for them during labour and birth (up from 73 percent in 2010)