Obesity is the biggest problem facing maternity units, the new chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has warned.
Gill Walton said she was “very concerned” that almost half of women are overweight or obese at the beginning of their pregnancy. In 1990 two-thirds of women were a normal weight.
Complications in childbirth caused by obesity, together with a shortage of 3,500 midwives, were damaging the service offered by the NHS, Walton said.
Midwives now had to prepare women for the prospect of being transferred to another hospital as they were about to give birth because the system was under stress, she added.
An RCM survey showed that maternity units closed their doors to mothers about to give birth 209 times from April…