'Worrying' Report Highlights Poor Antenatal Care For Women Expecting Twins And Triplets

Expert Lawyers Say Antenatal Care Guidelines Must Be Implemented


Oliver Wicks, Press Officer | 0114 274 4649

Medical negligence experts at Irwin Mitchell have called for the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines on multiple pregnancies to be implemented across the country after a ‘worrying’ report suggested that women expecting twins and triplets were not getting the antenatal care they need in some areas of the UK.

A joint report by two child birth charities has highlighted variations in the level of care for twins, triplets and other multiples throughout the country.

The Twins and Multiple Births Association conducted a survey of 1400 parents which reveals that guidelines set by NICE are not being implemented in a number of regions.

The results of the survey suggest that access to specialist care is limited; only 7.8% of patients in the East Midlands saw a specialist midwife compared with 48% in the North East.

Overall, patients who gave birth in the South East and West Midlands reported the worst standards of care for multiple pregnancies in England.

The report also states that the risk of giving birth prematurely is also considerably higher for multiple births and occurs in at least 50% of twin pregnancies. Multiple births also accounted for 7.2% of all stillbirths in the UK in 2014 which is a 13.6% rise from 2013.

The NHS England maternity review is currently on-going and according to a NHS spokeswoman it will “assess how best we can respond to England's growing birth rate and the need for safe and flexible services which are tailored to the needs of women, babies and their families".

Specialist medical negligence lawyers at national law firm Irwin Mitchell represent patients and the families of those who have suffered as a result of errors and problems during care.

Expert Opinion
“The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence introduced clear guidance for multiple pregnancies in 2011 and quality standards in 2013 and it is worrying to see that these are not being enforced in parts of the country.

“The guidelines state that ‘all women expecting multiple babies should have a named midwife, obstetrician and sonographer with specialist knowledge of multiple pregnancies’.

The report suggests that this is not the always the case and this therefore increases the chances of complications during the pregnancy and mistakes being made.

“It is unacceptable that expectant mothers face a postcode lottery in terms of the quality of care they can expect from the NHS.

“The safety of patients and their unborn children should be a priority and the level of support should be the same wherever you live. The report highlights the increased risk of possible issues with multiple births which is why we need a service that offers quality and reliable care wherever you live.

“It is positive to see that an NHS England maternity review is taking place and hopefully any improvements are highlighted as soon as possible so positive changes can occur.

“The NHS must quickly pinpoint the areas in the UK where the NICE guidelines are not being implemented and prioritise ensuring that they are.”
Lisa Jordan, Partner