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Birth Trauma

Published yesterday (13.05.2024), the Birth Trauma Inquiry report was published after months of investigations into the reasons for birth trauma and developing policy recommendations to reduce the significant rates of trauma associated with childbirth experiences in the UK.

The Inquiry received submissions about the experiences of 1,300 women from all backgrounds and areas of the UK and 100 maternity professionals. These stories included accounts of stillbirth, prematurity, injuries to children during childbirth, such as cerebral palsy due to oxygen deprivation, who now requires 24-hour care, and life-changing injuries to women as a result of severe tearing, causing a lifetime of pain and bowel incontinence.

The report acknowledges that in many of these cases, the trauma was caused by mistakes and failures made before and during labour, many of which were covered up by hospitals. It also recognised that these traumatic failures cause both short-term and long-term difficulties for parents and children, including difficulties bonding, the strain on partnerships and often an inability to return to work. Women from marginalised groups and ethnic minorities were reported as experiencing inferior care and both direct and indirect racism and the report recognised the psychological impact on birth partners who witnessed traumatic births.

The key conclusion of the Inquiry is that a single UK-wide recognised base standard for maternity services is needed to avoid a 'Postcode lottery' on such vital care.

In addition, it calls on the UK Government to publish a National Maternity Improvement Strategy to outline ways to improve maternity care, including (amongst other things) ways to;

  • Recruit, train and retain more medical professionals to ensure safe maternity service staffing and provide mandatory training on trauma-informed care.

  • Roll out and implement, underpinned by sufficient training, the OASI (obstetric and anal sphincter injury) care bundle to all hospital trusts to reduce the risk of injuries in childbirth

  • Oversee the national rollout of standardised post-birth services to give mothers a safe space to speak about their experiences.

  • Ensure better education for women on birth choices, including all Trusts offering antenatal classes and discussing risks with women in advance of labour at the 34-week antenatal midwife check to ensure informed consent.

If you have been affected by a traumatic childbirth experience for which you or your child have ongoing physical disabilities, you may be entitled to claim negligence. Don't hesitate to contact Graystons for advice and support on 0151 645 0055 or by email at


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