Baby Steps

Healthwatch Dorset spoke to over 100 women and their families about local maternity services. We organised events for parents and children, ran a Facebook survey and visited local community groups and children's centres to get people's feedback.
Picture of baby taking steps

 We wanted to find out what it's really like when you have a baby in Dorset. Our findings show the need for better communication, continuity of care and the need to allow new parents the support to make their own choices. We believe this is even more important when talking about people who may have stronger preferences due to disability, religion, or culture.

While much of the feedback local people gave us about NHS maternity staff was very positive, there were some people who felt patronised and that they weren’t listened to or respected.

Other recommendations in our report include improving antenatal classes, more postnatal check-ups and clearer information about breastfeeding.

I can honestly say that the staff were amazing, and we didn’t feel that we were treated any less favourably than a heterosexual couple.
At times I felt they talked down to me because I was a young mum.

Other recommendations in our report include improving antenatal classes, more postnatal check-ups and clearer information about breastfeeding.

I received very mixed advice regarding breastfeeding, every person who came in would say something different.
No postnatal support for our babies past 2 weeks from birth. A&E is not a place to take new-borns for help!

Joyce Guest, Chair of Healthwatch Dorset, said: "Our project was about listening to people who don't always have the loudest voice. We're delighted that the Dorset Local Maternity System has accepted all of the recommendations in our report and we look forward to seeing the actions they take in response, to make maternity services across Dorset even better."