Concerns for struggling midwives practising in Wales

With yet another round of national spending cuts looming, the NHS in Wales is facing yet more restructuring and reorganisation - and maternity services are no exception.

Midwife numbers have been cut for the third year running and there are now real concerns that they can continue to deliver a quality service.

Despite a slowing birth rate in Wales, the number of babies born in 2011 was still 16% higher than it was ten years earlier.

But after three years of cuts in midwife numbers, there are 12% fewer than there were 5 years ago.

The number of training places allocated for midwives also fell.

The Royal College of Midwives are concerned that a lack of midwives could impact on mothers during labour. They say the main cause for concern is an increase in workload due to lifestyle trends changing. More women are now giving birth with extra complications as large numbers are giving birth in their 40s and the younger generation needing extra care to change their smoking habits.

If we are looking after older women they often have other health conditions that will need extra resources putting in from the midwifery team.

If we have young teenagers for example they need to be counselled, we need to talk to them about their smoking and whole life changes, they need additional support.

Obesity is one of our major concerns, if a woman is obese she is more likely to have additional health problems as well and she’s more likely to need intervention and resulting in a cesarean section.

That brings in all of the resources that often we don’t have.

– Helen Rogers, Director of The Royal College of Midwives Wales
Dave Farmer is one of only two male Midwives practising in Wales Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Wales this Week follows Dave Farmer, one of only two male midwives in Wales, on his daily rounds and speaks to students at the University of South Wales to see just how challenging the job can be.

If you missed Wales This Week: Pushed to the Limits, you can watch it again by clicking on the video at the top of this article.