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Walsall voice at Parliamentary Inquiry

2024-03-11T14:46:04+00:00Monday 11 March 2024|
  • Carol King-Stephens is giving evidence to the Birth Trauma Inquiry

A Walsall Midwife has been invited to give evidence to a Parliamentary Inquiry into Birth Trauma to highlight the experiences of those from black and ethnic minority backgrounds.

Carol King-Stephens is the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion lead Midwife for Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust who was a speaker at Westminster Health Forum last year. She will speak at the Birth Trauma Inquiry, which has been hearing evidence since 5 February, next Monday 18 March.

The Parliamentary Inquiry follows the 2022 experience of Theo Clarke MP for Stafford and Chair of the All Party-Parliamentary Group on Birth Trauma.

Theo suffered a third-degree tear after giving birth to her daughter. She contacted the Birth Trauma Association, a national birth trauma charity, and organised for 10 mums from around the country to come to parliament and share their stories.

After this meeting, Theo did an interview in The Times, where she told her story publicly and asked for mums who had experienced Birth Trauma to contact her with their stories. More than 500 got in touch.

 Theo and Rosie Duffield, MP for Canterbury, set up a cross party All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) and in collaboration with Mumsnet, the APPG launched a national survey last year on birth trauma to collect data on this issue. Theo then led the first ever parliamentary debate on Birth Trauma in the history of UK parliament, which took place last October.

In the debate Maria Caulfield MP, Minister for Women, Mental Health and the Women’s Health Strategy, announced a plan to improve aftercare, a national pelvic health service, steps to reduce birth injuries and the implementation of the OASI care bundle across England. Following this campaign success, Theo and Rosie decided to launch a Parliamentary Inquiry

Carol said: “I welcome the opportunity to be able to talk about the experiences of those from black and ethnic minority backgrounds so that their voices can be heard as part of this important inquiry.

“Through the work I have done in Walsall, as well as more widely through the Black Country Local Maternity and Neonatal System with my fellow EDI Midwives, we know that low uptakes in referrals to mental health for black and brown service users is a real concern and we need to change that and improve outcomes for all. We also need black and brown mothers to know that they can trust healthcare professionals and feel safe and secure using our services.

“Birth Trauma can leave both physical and emotional scars and the effects can last for many years for some. How we effectively and meaningfully support women and their families during and after such a traumatic event needs to be equitable across our communities and sadly, this isn’t always the case.”

Birth Trauma is someone’s response to a situation or set of circumstances that has the potential to have physical and/or emotional, harmful effects that can be long lasting. A birth can become traumatic because of a medical intervention such as an emergency caesarean, or a complication, and women may fear they are going to lose their baby.

 They may also fear for their own lives and these fears can continue to affect their mental health many years later. This trauma can also be experienced by partners and healthcare staff.



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