Pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum… A survey on maternity in France

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Pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum… A survey on maternity in France

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    Marie Lanen

    Head of parenting section (baby, pregnancy, family)


    A survey by the Interassociative Collective around birth (Ciane) reveals the insecurity of women throughout the course of motherhood (pregnancy, childbirth, after childbirth, etc.). Following these observations, Ciane offers 11 recommendations to reduce this feeling of insecurity.

    The inter-associative collective around birth (Ciane), with the financial support of Santé Publique France, launched a survey on the entire maternity period (pregnancy, childbirth, stay in the maternity ward, return home) among 8,500 women who gave birth between 2016 and 2021. The results of this consultation highlighted a significant feeling of insecurity among women throughout their maternity journey.

    Perinatality: a lack of information that leads to insecurity among mothers

    From the start of their pregnancy, women feel insecure. This is due to the stress of having a miscarriage, experiencing a premature delivery, or even that their baby has a malformation. The complexity of the care pathway also generates a feeling of insecurity. About 25% of primiparous women (women giving birth for the first time) have difficulty identifying which health professional should carry out the pregnancy follow-up. Similarly, the complexity of administrative procedures is mentioned by 33% of primiparous women but also by 25% of multiparous women. As for childbirth, it is very often badly experienced by women, which can be explained by the fact that they did not follow any preparation for the birth, the lack of information and the benevolence of the healthcare teams. Then comes the stay in the maternity ward, which does not win all the votes. Indeed, insufficient attention paid to the mental health of the young mother coupled with over-attention to the baby’s weight generate significant stress. The return home is also a delicate period for many mothers who evoke a feeling of loneliness and a lack of support and information regarding the first steps of parenting, in particular on the management of infant crying.

    Serene motherhood: the 11 recommendations of Ciane

    Following the results of the survey conducted by Ciane and Santé Publique France, the collective offers 11 concrete recommendations to better inform future parents and reduce this feeling of insecurity among young mothers.

    Regarding the lack of information, Ciane proposes to:

    • Create an obligation for maternity units to provide a choice of indicators to describe their practices;
    • Create an online directory of professionals providing pregnancy monitoring;
    • Review information documents on rights and procedures, involving user representatives.

    Le Ciane proposes to improve the offer of care during the maternity process:

    • Birth and parenthood preparation courses: plan one or two reimbursed sessions for partners; add two postnatal sessions to answer women’s questions;
    • Consideration of the experience of childbirth: plan and finance a time for discussion and analysis of childbirth with postpartum professionals; make effective the planned recourse to a psychologist for any traumatic childbirth or bad experience;
    • Generalize the reception of fathers in maternity 24 hours a day;
    • Allow and finance the adjustment to women’s needs of the number of visits by private midwives after leaving the maternity ward;
    • Support the diversification of practices: physiological birth in hospitals, birth centres, home birth.

    Ciane also recommends training for professionals, parents and businesses:

    • Professionals: develop initial and continuing training modules on respect, consent, well-treatment;
    • Parents: encourage and facilitate participation in birth preparation classes, especially for partners; encourage partners to take their leave in the first weeks after the birth;
    • Companies: make them aware of the importance of paternity leave in the first weeks after birth.

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