Tamba Twins & Multiples Healthcare Survey making progress
TWINS & MULTIPLE BIRTHS ASSOCIATION
postnatal depression and fewer families of multiples being split up immediately after birth.
contents Executive Summary 1. Experience of NHS care 2. Parent education 3. Neonatal care 4. Separation of babies 5. Feeding multiples 6. Postnatal depression (PND) 7. Policy recommendations
Executive Summary The 2011 Tamba Health and Lifestyle survey collected the views of 688 parents of multiples who had their babies in the last 18 months (669 parents of twins, 17 parents of triplets and 2 parents of quads). The online survey asked 31 questions on levels of antenatal care, parent education, special care, feeding decisions, postnatal depression and help received in the first six months.
how the situation is changing in different areas of antenatal and postnatal care for families of multiples.
The 2011 survey asks many of the same questions as Tamba’s 2008 Health and Lifestyle survey, allowing us to examine
Several issues of concern raised in the 2008 survey are improving, for example, the 2011 survey found declining rates of
The survey found that many mothers have a positive experience of the health professionals that support them through their pregnancy, and highly rated the care provided by consultants and special care units.
However, there remain issues of great concern that must be addressed across the NHS to ensure the health, wellbeing and happiness of the babies, their mothers, and their families as a whole. These issues include:
Just over a third (36%) of respondents are offered multiple-specific parent education sessions by their local hospital, which is a concern as the survey found that women who have attended both hospital and Tamba-run multiplespecific classes are better prepared for the realities of parenthood, less likely to develop postnatal depression and feel overwhelmed by the experience of caring for young babies. Parents are also less likely to be isolated, for example joining their local twins club and arranging for help caring for their babies in the first six months. Further information is provided in Section 2.
1 in 5 mothers (21%) of multiples are unprepared for the possibility that their babies are more likely to be born early and need special care in a neonatal unit. Of those parents who said they were unprepared, over a half (54%) went on to have one or more baby in neonatal care. Without adequate preparation, these parents were alarmed (and in some cases traumatised) by the experience. More information is provided in Section 3.
• Mothers expressed low levels of
satisfaction with maternity wards and almost a quarter (22%) were worried about the quality of the care, post delivery. New mothers of multiples frequently complained of being “abandoned” and struggled to look after more than one baby in postnatal wards, particularly during the night. While the problem can partly be explained by low staffing levels, parents also felt there was a need for postnatal wards to be more understanding of the realities of multiple births, such as the differing feeding demands of multiples and the need for extra space for babies to sleep and feed. Mothers were also extremely disappointed that hospitals could not be more flexible about visiting hours so that partners could provide ‘an extra pair of hands’.
Although the majority of multiplebirth families were able to stay in the same hospital after the birth, almost 1 in 10 mothers (9.1%) were split up from at least one of their babies. There needs to be continued investment in special care units so that mothers and babies can be accommodated at their local hospital. Priority should be given to keeping families together, even if clinical needs require one baby to be transferred to another hospital. Further informati