Birth trauma is a matter that unfortunately impacts many. My sympathy goes out to those who have confronted its challenges. I applaud my colleague, Theo Clarke MP, who has recounted her painful experience to raise awareness of birth trauma and to inspire changes in policy.
Under plans for the implementation of a nationwide pelvic health service, people who have gone through the pain and distress of a traumatic birth will receive better aftercare and support, and pregnant people will be better equipped with the information they need as part of their routine antenatal care.
Backed by over £11 million of Government funding from April 2024, plans published by NHS England for the implementation of a new national service will ensure a self-assessment of pelvic health is offered as early as possible in pregnancy. It will educate all those pregnant on the risk of pelvic floor dysfunction and birth injuries, including preventative action they can take to reduce this risk. The service will also provide additional support to those at higher risk of pelvic health problems, and it will allow those affected to access appropriate physiotherapy assessment and personalised treatment.
Perinatal pelvic health services - run by specialist midwives and pelvic health physiotherapists - are already being implemented as pilots throughout England. All areas in England are on track to implement these services by March 2024. These services work alongside maternity and physiotherapy services to support prevention, identification and treatment of pelvic health problems around birth. They will also reduce the risk of these injuries happening in the first place through close work with midwives and obstetricians and through support for the implementation of the obstetric anal sphincter injury care bundle.