Obesity, staff crunch: rising deaths of pregnant women in UK

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London, Dec 3 (UNI) Obesity has been termed as a major reason in the UK for rising deaths in the number of women giving birth.

Shortage of well trained doctors and skilled midwives are other major contributors that led to 50 per cent increase in death rate since the Eighties.

The chronic shortage of consultants meant expecting mothers were often left in the hands of juniors.

The report Saving Mothers' Lives, by the Confidential Inquiry into Maternal and Child Health, blamed the deaths on increasing obesity.

Half the women who died were overweight, while one in seven were morbidly obese.

The investigation revealed problems with lack of equipment, overcrowded wards, staff shortages, poor communication, lack of information and support for patients and bullying amongst staff.

Citing heart disease as another reason for the deaths, the report blamed poor diets, smoking, alcohol and the growing epidemic of obesity.

It called for overweight women who wanted children to receive counselling on the NHS to improve their lifestyle, Daily Mail reported.

The report also condemns ''the number of healthcare professionals who failed to identify and manage common medical conditions or potential emergencies outside their area of expertise''.

Experts warned the lack of 5,000 midwives and 900 consultants mean and ''unacceptably high'' number of cases led to many tasks done by poorly-trained staff.

Rising deaths were also linked to deprivation, more mothers delaying pregnancy and a high influx of migrant mothers.

The report of an external review conducted by the Healthcare Commission launched 2004 was in the wake of Premalatha Jeevagan death in the absence of senior obstetric medical staff. Her uterus was found filled with several litres of blood.

The Commission took immediate steps and recommended that urgent special measures were needed to ensure patient safety.

UNI

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