24/08/2012 13:24 BST

Maternity Care Fears As Only 18% Feel They Get Enough Support Despite Government Pledges

Concerns over the state of maternity care in the UK have arisen after data showed women were mostly unsatisfied with their care despite Government pledges to bolster the industry.

Research by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) found that 18% of women did not believe they were fully supported during their labour and birth - accounting for as many as 120,000 women in England each year.

The survey also showed that one in three women saw a different midwife at every check-up.

In May, ministers promised new mothers that they would have one midwife who would oversee their care, a one-to-one midwife during labour and birth and a choice over how and where they have their babies.

But a survey by the Royal College of Midwives and Bounty Parenting Club of over 1,800 women who were pregnant or recently gave birth in England shows "worrying shortfalls", said campaigners.

Almost half of women (47%) said they would have liked more time with their midwife during pregnancy.

Ministers also promised to support women after they gave birth, with special care for those suffering from postnatal depression. But a third of women said they did not feel supported after their child was born.

The RCM said the data showed that while some progress has been made, the Government "has a lot of ground to make up to meet its promises" on maternity services in England.

RCM chief executive Cathy Warwick said: "The Government says it is committed to providing better maternity care and we endorse the pledges they have made. However, actions speak louder than words and this survey shows that there are many challenges ahead to ensure their promises are delivered across England.

"It throws up many areas of concern and highlights the pressing need for sustained investment in maternity services and in midwives."